Expected Council Action
In May, the Council is scheduled to receive its annual briefing from the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees: Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; and Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez (Peru), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC).
Background and Key Recent Developments
There have been several developments on counter-terrorism in the Council since the last joint briefing in October.
1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee
On 28 March, the Council held an open debate on combatting the financing of terrorism, with briefings by the Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, Vladimir Voronkov (via video teleconference); Marshall Billingslea, president of the Financial Action Task Force, an international organisation that develops standards for suppressing the financing of terrorism and effectively implementing existing measures to combat terrorism; and Mercy Buku, an expert in anti-money-laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
During the open debate, the Council adopted resolution 2462, which reiterated commitments on criminalising terrorism and the financing of terrorism that had been established by resolution 1373 and supplemented by further resolutions.
The resolution further decided that states shall ensure that their domestic laws establish serious criminal offenses for the wilful provision or collection of funds, directly or indirectly, with the intention that the funds should be used, or in the knowledge that they are to be used, for the benefit of terrorist organisations or individual terrorists for any purpose. States are to ensure that this measure and all others taken to counter terrorism comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international refugee law.
1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee
On 11 February, Voronkov and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) Executive Director Michèle Coninsx briefed the Council on the eighth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL. Regarding ISIL’s financial strength, Voronkov said the report “notes that despite some loss of revenue because of territorial setbacks, ISIL could sustain its operations through accessible reserves, in cash or investments in businesses”. Coninsx reviewed CTED’s findings on the increased use of mobile payment services by terrorist groups and concerns about the possible exploitation of blockchain technology and the misuse of cryptocurrencies for malicious, criminal or terrorist purposes.
On 21 February, Council members condemned the 14 February suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, noting that over 40 Indian paramilitary personnel had died and dozens had been wounded in the attack, for which Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility. In March, France, the UK and the US proposed in the committee that the founder of JeM, Masood Azhar, be listed, but China has placed a hold on the listing. At press time, Council members were still considering possible ways forward on the issue of listing Masood Azhar.
On 15 March, Council members condemned the terrorist attack that took place at Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier that day, which resulted in at least 50 killed and many wounded.
On 19 March, Djani briefed the Council on the committee’s activities. He noted that 182 countries have submitted initial reports providing the committee with information on the measures they have taken, or plan to take, to comply with their obligations under resolution 1540. He added that the committee has begun its preparatory work for its upcoming comprehensive review of the implementation of the resolution, requested by the Council in resolution 1977 (2011).
On 2 April, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu briefed the Council, ahead of the 2020 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. She cautioned that the disarmament success of the post-Cold War era is being replaced with dangerous rhetoric about the utility of nuclear weapons and an increased reliance on these weapons in security doctrines, making the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons higher than it has been in generations.
Council and wider Dynamics
In general, counter-terrorism enjoys the support of all Council members; the importance of curbing the financing of terrorism, in particular, is a consensus issue. Some differences in approach between Council members were evident during negotiations over resolution 2462, on the nexus between counter-terrorism efforts and international humanitarian law. Humanitarian and human rights groups had strong reactions to the initial French draft text. They viewed the language as restricting humanitarian activities, otherwise permitted under and forming part of international humanitarian law, which requires them to interact with parties to a conflict that may be considered by states as terrorist organisations, particularly in areas controlled by groups such as ISIL. Several Council members were sympathetic to these concerns after they were flagged, and the final text attempts to address them, balanced with the positions of members such as Russia and the US, that were less amenable to changes as they wanted the text to eliminate possible situations of funnelling money to terrorists through non-governmental organisations under the guise of legitimate activities.
UN Documents on Counter-Terrorism
|Security Council Resolutions|
|28 March 2019S/RES/2462||This was a resolution on combatting the financing of terrorism.|
|28 September 2001S/RES/1373||This resolution placed barriers on the movement, organisation and fund-raising activities of terrorist groups and imposed legislative, policy and reporting requirements on member
states to assist the global struggle against terrorism. It also established a Counter-Terrorism
Committee to monitor state compliance with these provisions.
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|2 April 2019S/PV.8500||This was a briefing by Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu.|
|28 March 2019S/PV.8496||This was an open debate on the financing of terrorism.|
|19 March 2019S/PV.8487||This was a briefing by the Chair of the 1540 Committee.|
|11 February 2019S/PV.8460||This was a briefing on the eighth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh).|
|Security Council Press Statements|
|22 April 2019SC/13788||This condemned the series terrorist attacks that took place in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019, which resulted in nearly 300 killed and hundreds more wounded.|
|15 March 2019SC/13740||This condemned the terrorist attack that took place at Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.|
|21 February 2019SC/13712||This was a Council-issued press statement condemning the 14 February suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, noting that over 40 Indian paramilitary forces had died and dozens had been wounded in the attack, for which Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility.|