Statement by Ambassador H.E. Dr. Palitha Kohona,
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly 65th Session
Agenda Item 107 - Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism –
6th October, 2010
Since my delegation is taking the floor for the first time, let me congratulate you upon your assumption of the Chair of the Sixth Committee.
Sri Lanka aligns itself with the Statement delivered by Iran on behalf of the NAM. We have before us Doc No. A/65/175 containing the helpful report of the Secretary-General which outlines the measures taken by Member States in the area of countering terrorism and we express our gratitude to the Secretary-General.
Terrorism continues to be one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. Whole societies have been wrenched apart by the cruel hand of terrorism. National economies have been brought to a standstill. Scarce resources have been devoted to combat this scourge. Sri Lanka knows very well what terrorism can do to a society, to an economy and to a culture. Recurrent terrorist acts worldwide, in particular in our own region, remind us that no country is safe from this threat and is a truly global challenge that requires a global response. It can only be defeated by the concerted efforts of the international community. Terrorism continues to harm lives and property across the world. The world has struggled to deal with this problem, including by developing 13 Conventions, and a number of regional instruments. Sri Lanka is a party to these and to the SAARC instruments. We need to be more determined in the implementation of these conventions.
As a country which comprehensively defeated terrorism, both on land and at sea, after a violent age that spanned 30 years, Sri Lanka places great importance on international cooperation in the effort to combat terrorism. The terrorist group that was defeated in Sri Lanka now operates in a number of other countries and engages in fund raising and organizational activities. They hide their activities behind legal facades and other gimmicks, as do terrorists elsewhere. Terrorism elsewhere continues to expand its threat despite each and every State having firmly denounced it. Unfortunately, terrorism has long been manipulated by some as a political weapon providing room for terrorists to maneuver and survive. Sri Lanka emphasizes the necessity to address the root causes of terrorism internationally and eliminate its underlying causes, in particular the causal political, economic and security factors. Terrorism should not be viewed purely as a military challenge. We have undertaken a complex series of actions domestically, political, economic and social, to ensure that the ugly head of terrorism will have no excuse for rising again. We need to eliminate double standards, unfair politicization and selectivity in implementing international obligations. Intelligence exchange also becomes paramount in the fight against terrorism.
In this regard, the delegation of Sri Lanka underlines the importance of finalizing without further delay, the negotiations on the comprehensive convention on terrorism as a vital step to complement the existing sectoral conventions. We firmly believe that the world must address differences and bridge the remaining gaps on this crucial instrument. We must conclude this legal framework to confront this scourge resolutely and send a clear message on the intensions of the international community, for the sake of all our peoples.
The consensual reaffirmation of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy during the second review at the beginning of last month represents a significant success. Sri Lanka welcomes, in particular, the significant progress made in the institutionalization of the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force and looks forward to its enhanced engagement, close cooperation and coordination with Member States.
Sri Lanka also welcomes the efforts taken by the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force. Recently, Sri Lanka successfully hosted a Regional Workshop for Police Officers and Prosecutors in South Asia on Effectively Countering Terrorism in coordination with CTED. We will continue to cooperate with CTED. We welcome regional, sub-regional and international efforts and interaction among Member States with a view to synergizing UN approaches to the challenge of terrorism.
It is Sri Lanka’s consistent view that the United Nations is the body best placed to lead a concerted global campaign against terrorism, including maritime terrorism, as the key global entity promoting cooperation among States, respect for the rule of law, good governance, political pluralism and as it enjoys legitimacy and the confidence of the global community. In advocating strong measures against terrorism, it is Sri Lanka’s position that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality or ethnic group. To do so would be to provide terrorism with a perverse justification.
Addressing the global threat of terrorism calls for a long term, multipronged and comprehensive approach involving the global community. We need a combination of cooperation, vigilance and preventive measures but, more importantly, we need to involve and engage moderates of all races, religions, civilizations and ethnic groups in all countries to stand up and be counted in the fight against terrorism. Our collective efforts to address this scourge should now need to move beyond mere statements, into more practical measures, including strengthening global peace and security as well as democracy and good governance. It is therefore necessary now to move fully into the practical mode and go beyond rhetoric to concrete cooperative measures and actions.