UN establishing a new Counter-Terrorism office to strengthen international cooperation on combatting terrorism and ensuring human rights and the rule of law.

The 87th plenary meeting of the General Assembly established a new Counter-Terrorism Office to counter transnational threats: the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. A new Under-Secretary- General will head it.

H.E. Peter Thomson remarked that the new office would strengthen international cooperation in all forms while reaffirming UN’s determination on anti-terrorism regarding the four pillars set in 2006 – addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, preventing and combatting terrorism, building states’ capacity and strengthening the role of the UN and, ensuring human rights and the rule of law.

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Canada and Turkey welcomed the adoption, with Representative from Canada exhorting the UN in finding the best person for the post of USG. Representative from India viewed the adoption as demonstrating a new path for collective and coordinative actions, while Representative from Norway wished the New Office to perform better in terms of external and internal communication. Representative from Israel was confident that his government could act as a role model for the New Office as it had ample experiences in combating terror.

Representative from Iraq, however, doubted the decision in two aspects. First, the financing structure of the New Office depended on voluntary funds from member-states, which might cause misgivings of impartiality and inefficiency; second, there was no guarantee for transparency and inclusiveness. He urged for a more equal and translucent election process.

Representative from Syria expressed a reserved attitude to the 3rd paragraph of the draft resolution, which he alleged contains serious and unjustified precedence while offending the collective work. He then explicitly accused Saudi Arabia of funding terrorist groups in Syria. Representative from Saudi Arabia responded by blaming the Syrian government in violating human rights such as using excessive arms towards civilians, which he thought they were not qualified to blame terrorism. Representative from Syria, exercising his right of reply, criticized Saudi Arabia in intervening their domestic affairs. He lastly promised to cooperate with the international community to combat terrorists supported by Saudi Arabia.

Meeting: General Assembly 87th plenary meeting – the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Date/Time: Thursday, June 15, 2017; 10:00-12:30; General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:  H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly of the UN; Representatives from 188 countries

Written by: WIT Representative Jason Lai

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