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Statement by the Minister of Defence Mr. Jüri Luik at UN Security Council Open Debate on Combating terrorism 20 years after the adoption of RES 1373

Thank you Mr. President,

Estonia commends Under Secretary Voronkov and Executive Director Coninsx and Ms Fatime Akilu for their statements and for  their outstanding work.

Let me thank Tunisia for organizing today´s debate that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) and the establishment of the Counter Terrorism Committee.

In light of the constantly evolving nature of the threat, we must continue to work together to adjust the tools required to overcome the phenomenon of terrorism: be it the misuse of Internet for terrorist purposes; strengthening the countering of terrorism financing or working together to overcome the challenges posed by foreign terrorist fighters.

Estonia acknowledges the United Nations central role in leading the global effort to prevent and counter terrorism in setting the standards with relevant Security Council resolutions and monitoring the Member States to implement them.

We commend the work of the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT), Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) and Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and encourage for stronger coordination in building the expertise, identifying the needs on the ground and assisting  member states.

Furthermore, it’s important that all UN agencies continue to build their efforts on engaging more with different civil society groups and actors – youth, women, private sector, community and religious leaders, human rights defenders and victims of terrorism to be successful in designing counter terrorism policies and tools.

Estonia appreciates the increasing co-operation that the United Nation has with the European Union, Europol and Eurojust. The European Union is one of the major contributors to OCT. I would like to underline the UN-EU counter-terrorism partnership in Sudan and joint projects aimed at preventing acts of nuclear terrorism and expanding dialogue with CTED.

 

Mr President,

Estonia condemns terrorism and violent radicalization in all its forms and manifestations. Terrorism is a global threat and therefore Estonia has actively contributed to tackling that on international fora for years and we are committed to continue that in the future.

We are facing new complex security challenges, like cyber and hybrid threats, and capabilities, like drones that increase the real threat from terrorists to civilian populations and our men and women on operations and missions across the world.

My country is convinced that fight against terrorism can be successful only if we focus on the following principles:

States must ensure that all counter terrorism measures comply with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law. Ignoring these principles can undermine counter terrorism activities and lead to increased radicalization fed by violence and a sense of impunity. Therefore, we also condemn all attempts of misusing the counter-terrorism agenda as a pretext for human rights violations.

Secondly, we need a comprehensive approach to address the root causes of terrorism and radicalization. Improving the socio-economic situation and ensuring access to public services, in particular in the field of education and healthcare, reduces the space for violent extremist groups to act. This is more important than ever as we face economic decline caused by the COVID-19. Estonia gives its share to address the causes of instability – to reduce poverty and marginalization of certain groups and promote gender equality. For example, supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey through increasing their IT and entrepreneurship skills and offering psychological support.

Thirdly, to tackle terrorism, we have to be able to disrupt the immediate threat of direct attacks, break up terrorist networks and be technologically ahead of their capabilities. Estonia continues to contribute to many multilateral counter terrorism operations in different regions in the world. Our troops are in Mali, in Afghanistan and in the Middle East – where terrorist threat is unfortunately the highest in the world.

Fourthly, the question of accountability and denying impunity to the perpetrators of crimes against civilians is an essential part of preventing and countering terrorism. It is also a vital part of a comprehensive approach to restoring trust and creating conditions for sustainable peace.

Respecting human rights, promoting inclusion and comprehensive action and fighting impunity  are all key factors in making societies more cohesive and preventing the success of ideologies which preach violence. As we look ahead towards the next twenty years, we should turn our collective efforts towards these principles instead of only dealing with the consequences.

Finally, let us honour the women and men in the field who stand in the front lines of fighting terrorism, sometimes even at the cost of their lives – members of the armed forces, law enforcement, social and humanitarian workers, community and religious leaders. Their dedication makes a difference.

I thank you, Mr President!