Delivered by: Ameirah AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative and Acting Chargé d’Affaires
At the outset, I thank Under Secretary General Mr. Voronkov and Executive Director Ms. Gherman for their comprehensive briefings. We also thank Ms. Farida Khalaf, for her moving briefing, which highlighted the heinous crimes that women and girls are subjected due to terrorist acts and the critical role women play in counter terrorism efforts.
Despite the progress achieved by the international community in countering the threat of terrorism, terrorist groups continue to adapt their methods and change their strategies to achieve their goal of destabilizing international peace and security. Therefore, we believe that the Secretary General’s report and that of the Analytical and Sanctions Monitoring Team of Da’esh and Al-Qaeda are crucial in shedding light on the methods, patterns, and movements of the terrorist group Da’esh, to enable the international community to effectively counter it.
One of the worrying developments that the Secretary General’s report notes is the continued use of technologies for terrorist purposes, and the exploitation by Da’esh of Islamophobic acts, such as burnings of the Holy Qur’an, to fuel extremism and hate speech and call for terrorist attacks.
Another concerning development that the report highlights is related to the continued ability of terrorist groups in Africa to expand their control, take advantage of conflicts, deteriorating economic conditions, and the security vacuum in ungoverned spaces. There are similar concerns about terrorist activities carried out in other regions around the world.
We strongly condemn the use of sexual and gender-based violence as a strategic objective and tactic by Daesh and other terrorist groups, which disproportionately impacts women and girls and aims to humiliate and control populations.
Therefore, we urgently need a serious stand by the international community to deter transnational terrorist threats, including by coordinating efforts, supporting countries affected by conflicts, and building their capacities. In this context, we look forward to the African Summit on Countering Terrorism, organized by Nigeria and the United Nations Office of Counterterrorism early next year.
With this in mind, we would like to emphasize four points:
First, prevention measures must be strengthened by addressing the root causes of extremism before it ultimately leads to the killing of innocent people. Such measures should also focus on building peaceful and resilient societies. This requires a comprehensive whole-of-governmental and whole-of-society approach by investing in education, economic development, and the promotion of interfaith and intercultural dialogue, in addition to the empowerment of women and youth.
To this end, the UAE co-drafted Security Council Resolution 2686 on “Tolerance and international peace and security” which calls for a comprehensive approach in promoting tolerance and peaceful coexistence to address the causes of conflicts. The Resolution also encourages Stakeholders, including religious and community leaders, the media, and social media platforms, to address hate speech and extremism. We hope that steps will be taken to implement this Resolution, given its importance in immunizing our societies from the scourges of extremism and terrorism.
Second, terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or race. Terrorism is an unjustifiable crime. This why the UAE has been stressing the need to avoid using names under religious slogans in reference to terrorist groups, in particular Da’esh. When the United Nations and the Security Council uses the designation “Islamic State”, they compromise the fact that there is nothing Islamic about terrorism. Terrorist groups are deliberately using these designations to exploit religion to achieve their goals.
Third, we must continue to develop our methods to prevent and counter terrorists’ exploitation of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, drones, cryptocurrencies, and digital platforms. New and emerging technologies will increasingly threaten international peace and security when in the hands of terrorist groups.
Therefore, agreeing on a common collective approach and strengthening legal frameworks to confront these threats, without limiting the ability to innovate, has become necessary and requires close cooperation between governments and the private sector.
Fourth, it is necessary to revitalize and accelerate work to adopt a comprehensive international convention on terrorism. Despite the existence of international agreements and resolutions to address the growing threats of terrorism, including the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, eradicating this scourge requires a comprehensive international agreement to strengthen the international legal framework in this field.
In conclusion, the UAE affirms that it will continue its efforts to strengthen the United Nations Counter-Terrorism System, including as Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee this year.
Thank you, Madam President.