“Terrorism does not fit into the conventional paradigm of threats to peace and security. Yet, today it affects us all, across continents, whether we are from developing or developed world,” India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said at a high-level U.N. General Assembly thematic debate on peace and security.
India has criticised the “disaggregated” counter terrorism infrastructure of the United Nations, saying the world community has failed to address the menace of terror and there is a need to have a seamless structure in the world body to tackle the global scourge.
“Terrorism does not fit into the conventional paradigm of threats to peace and security. Yet, today it affects us all, across continents, whether we are from developing or developed world,” India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said at a high-level U.N. General Assembly thematic debate on peace and security. He expressed concern that terror thrived on and was sustained by its trans-boundary networks for ideology, recruitment, propaganda, funding, arms training and sanctuary.
‘Global community flunked’
“However, the global community has failed to address this menace effectively. Here at the United Nations there is a disaggregated counter terrorism infrastructure with no effort to tie them together in a seamless weave under a high-level functionary. We need to address this,” Mr. Akbaruddin said.
India has been pressing for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), a long-pending legal framework which would make it binding for all countries to deny funds and safe haven to terror groups.
India’s 1996 initiative
With the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combat terrorism, India took the initiative to pilot a draft CCIT in 1996 but the convention has not yet been adopted as nations have “entangled” themselves on the issue of definition of terrorism.
The Indian envoy has also lamented the “endless” process of trying to reform the Security Council even as the world grapples with challenges more diverse in nature than they were when the world body was created 70 years ago. He emphasised that the structures of global governance have to be made representative to deal with current threats and challenges or else the U.N. risks becoming “irrelevant.”
Need for collective action by UNSC
“On the one hand we find a growing tendency where issues much broader than the conventional peace and security context are being considered as germane. Issues related to the international system of criminal justice, large-scale human rights violations, and monitoring compliance with disarmament arrangements are brought onto the agenda of international peace and security stretching the canvas of collective action by the Security Council. At the same time, we are faced with efforts to spin issues of Reform of the Security Council in an endless manner,” he said.
Mr. Akbaruddin has said while technology, social media and instantaneous transfers of funds have unprecedented benefits, these very same inter-linkages are now also being used for the spread of radical propaganda, extremist ideologies, recruitment of followers beyond national boundaries and spread of terrorist networks. While we are increasingly aware of the growing inter-dependence of economies; there is insufficient realisation of the commonality of threat that these other challenges pose to our collective security,” he said.
World has moved since U.N. was created
Mr. Akbaruddin added that the world has moved on from the time when the U.N. was created and when the main focus of the world organisation was maintaining peace between the then established powers.
The “centre of gravity” of the globalised economy continues to shift, he has said.
“Today, the challenges are more diverse. Even as we update tools and improve our understanding of emerging threats, a more representative global governance system is essential to deal effectively with today’s concerns. If we do not do so we run the risk of making the U.N. ineffective and irrelevant in addressing the most important challenges of our times,” Mr. Akbaruddin said.
When peacekeepers turn rapists
The Indian envoy further expressed concern that peacekeeping, the “most frequently used tool to address complex and multidimensional challenges”, has been blunted given the instances of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers.
He said rising concerns about peacekeepers’ safety and security and questions about perceptions about the impartiality of UN. troops are all “symptoms of peacekeeping under great stress.”
“We need to attend to these fault-lines, if peace-keeping is to remain a beacon of hope,” Mr. Akbaruddin said. He noted that the geopolitical climate in 2016 seems to be running into “headwinds” and there was a feeling of pessimism about the present as well as a sense of foreboding about the future.
Through the prism of peace and security
Pointing out that while the adoption last year of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been a remarkable step, Mr. Akbaruddin has said sustainable development will also have to be seen in the context of peace and security.
“If economic, social, environmental and other causes of international tension are now important to questions of peace and security then we need to address these holistically and not only on the basis of primacy to politics,” he said.
Not against any religion
“The fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. It is a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity. It is also a battle that must be won through the strength of our values and the real message of religions,” Mr. Akbaruddin said.