Yury Fedotov

Director General/Executive Director

 

International Conference on Countering Terrorism

St. Petersburg, 18 April 2019

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

International terrorism increasingly imperils global peace and security.

No country is free from this threat - as we are painfully reminded far too often.

The fight against terrorism has seen the military defeat of ISIL in Syria and Iraq. But by nature, the threat is continuously shifting and many challenges remain.

Foreign terrorist fighters are returning home. Some ISIL terrorists are changing their affiliation, joining other groups or creating new ones.

Many fighters have moved to Afghanistan, and the Afghan wing of ISIL remains a key destabilizing factor.

The security situation is exacerbated by the increasing linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime, particularly in relation to trafficking of illegal drugs and precursors.

This also poses a growing danger to neighbouring countries and the wider region.

In Central Asia, ISIL is seeking to expand its area of activity and has called for terrorist attacks targeting public gatherings, notably in the Ferghana Valley.

It is clear that these evolving, transnational threats require agile, multilateral responses.

But a lack of criminal justice capacity in many countries remains a major challenge to global counter-terrorism action.

Outdated counter-terrorism legislation and insufficient institutional frameworks limit Member States' ability to act and cooperate.

This is why your role as parliamentarians in preventing and countering terrorism is essential.

There are four main areas in which your contribution is crucial.

First, ratifying international conventions.

There are nineteen conventions and protocols which need to be incorporated in national legislation.

A number of UN Security Council resolutions also address counter-terrorism.

These texts provide common definitions and cooperation mechanisms covering almost all foreseeable acts of terrorism.

Parliaments can also help ensure that funds are available to implement commitments.

Second, law and policy making.

Without an effective legal regime against terrorism, terrorists and their supporters cannot be prosecuted and victims cannot receive justice and assistance.

Laws criminalizing involvement in terrorist activity, including financing or incitement to commit terrorist acts, can also help create a strong deterrent. This was recognized just last month by Security Council resolution 2462.

Third, parliaments can help ensure that security services and law enforcement are invested with the powers they need to conduct effective investigations and prosecutions, while securing respect for due process.

Last but not least, parliamentarians can ensure a strong focus on prevention, including through promoting sustainable development and human rights, thereby tackling the underlying conditions which allow terrorism to flourish.

Excellencies,

UNODC, with its terrorism, crime and corruption mandates and network of field experts, plays a leading role in the UN system in providing technical assistance to reinforce the universal legal framework against terrorism.

Through our work, we see a strong need to build partnerships, including with global and regional parliamentary associations, to reinforce international cooperation.

That is why UNODC, UNOCT and IPU joined forces to design a major, multi-year Programme on the Role of Parliaments Addressing Terrorism. I am very pleased that our three organizations will soon be signing an MoU to strengthen our cooperation.

We are also working with many of you through the IPU High-Level Advisory Group on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, established to support the effective implementation of the trilateral programme.

Specific outcomes of this initiative include the creation of a global parliamentarian network and the organization of global parliamentary summits to be hosted by the UN and IPU, connecting over 65,000 parliamentarians.

In February 2017, UNODC, IPU and OCT co-organized the Regional Conference for the MENA and Gulf Parliamentarians to discuss the challenges associated with returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters.

We look forward to organizing a similar conference for Member Parliaments of the IPA CIS.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Parliaments represent the people. In the fight against terrorism, they are the link between local communities and broader national and global strategies.

Parliamentary associations, like IPA CIS, are important connectors, conveners and amplifiers for your action.

I very much welcome the growing collaboration between UNODC and the global parliamentary community. I look forward to further expanding cooperation with IPU, IPA CIS and other parliamentary associations, and working closely with all of you to prevent and counter terrorism threats.

Thank you.