Statement by the President of the Security Council
At the 7453rd meeting of the Security Council, held on 29 May 2015, in connection with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:
“The Security Council reaffirms that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed.
“The Security Council reaffirms its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all States in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
“The Security Council emphasizes that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization.
“The Security Council reaffirms Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict and to deny terrorist groups the ability to put down roots and establish safe havens to address better the growing threat posed by terrorism.
“The Security Council reiterates its grave concern over the continuing threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, namely individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, including in connection with armed conflict, and resolving to address this threat.
“The Security Council expresses great concern that foreign terrorist fighters continue to be recruited in significant numbers by, and are joining, entities such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as Daesh), Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), and other cells, affiliates, splinter groups or derivatives of Al-Qaida, as designated by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), and groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL.
“The Security Council expresses its grave concern that there are now over 25,000 foreign terrorist fighters from over 100 countries who have travelled to join or fight for terrorist entities associated with Al-Qaida, including ISIL and ANF, and notes that the flow is mainly focused on, but not limited to, movement into the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq, according to the report (S/2015/358) provided by the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team (“Monitoring Team”).
“The Security Council reiterates its concern that foreign terrorist fighters increase the intensity, duration and intractability of conflicts, and also may pose a serious threat to their States of origin, the States they transit and the States to which they travel, as well as States neighbouring zones of armed conflict in which foreign terrorist fighters are active and that are affected by serious security burdens, notes that the threat of foreign terrorist fighters may affect all regions and Member States, even those far from conflict zones, and expresses grave concern that foreign terrorist fighters are using their extremist ideology to promote terrorism.
“The Security Council recognizes that addressing the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters requires comprehensively addressing underlying factors, including by preventing radicalization to terrorism, stemming recruitment, inhibiting foreign terrorist fighter travel, disrupting financial support to foreign terrorist fighters, countering violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, countering incitement to terrorist acts motivated by extremism or intolerance, promoting political and religious tolerance, economic development and social cohesion and inclusiveness, ending and resolving armed conflicts, and facilitating reintegration and rehabilitation.
“The Security Council reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law, underscores that respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are complementary and mutually reinforcing with effective counter-terrorism measures, and are an essential part of a successful counter-terrorism effort and notes the importance of respect for the rule of law so as to effectively prevent and combat terrorism, and notes that failure to comply with these and other international obligations, including under the Charter of the United Nations, is one of the factors contributing to increased radicalization and fosters a sense of impunity.
“The Security Council welcomes the extraordinary efforts undertaken to date to implement resolution 2178 (2014) on foreign terrorist fighters since its adoption on September 24, 2014, and the Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2014/23) adopted on November 19, 2014 as well as other relevant resolutions including 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005). The Security Council expresses concern that large numbers of individuals continue to become radicalized to terrorism and travel as foreign terrorist fighters to conflict zones and pose a dire threat and that Member States need to improve prevention, interdiction and enforcement efforts through greater international information sharing and timely coordination to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. The Security Council underscores the need for Member States to intensify these efforts and to identify and undertake priority actions, particularly those mentioned in this Statement, with assistance from others where needed, as expeditiously as possible. The Security Council further underscores the need to implement all aspects of resolution 2178 (2014) including countering violent extremism and managing foreign terrorist fighter returnees.
“The Security Council underscores the critical importance of Member States implementing fully their international obligations including those relevant to counter-terrorism and described in paragraph 6 of resolution 2178 (2014) to ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses sufficient to provide the ability to prosecute and to penalize in a matter duly reflecting the seriousness of the offenses. To this effect, the Security Council commends the many Member States that have reviewed and, if needed, revised their domestic legislation in the recent past to address foreign terrorist fighters but notes that many other Member States have not yet done so sufficiently and calls on Member States to fully implement their obligations found in paragraph 6 of resolution 2178 (2014) as expeditiously as possible. Recalling the international obligation in paragraph 5 of resolution 2178 (2014) to prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of foreign terrorist fighters, the Security Council calls on Member States to implement these obligations through enforcement of relevant laws, including by prosecuting and penalizing foreign terrorist fighters to suppress and deter their flow.
“The Security Council expresses great concern that many Member States still have not required airlines operating in their territories provide to appropriate national authorities advanced passenger information of travelers in order to detect the departure from their territories, or attempted entry into or transit through their territories, by means of civil aircraft, of individuals designated by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), as is called for in paragraph 9 of resolution 2178 (2014).
“The Security Council notes that only 51 Member States to date are reported to be using advanced passenger information to support evidence-based traveler risk assessment and screening procedures, according to the report (S/2015/377) provided by the Counterterrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), and strongly encourages Member States to urgently begin using advance passenger information to support evidence-based traveler risk assessment and screening procedures including collection and analysis of travel data without resorting to profiling based on stereotypes founded on grounds of discrimination prohibited by international law, as is encouraged in paragraph 2 of resolution 2178 (2014), and further encourages Member States to consider utilizing Passenger Name Record data to enhance traveler screening. The Security Council notes that such actions can be particularly effective at reducing the ability of foreign terrorist fighters to evade detection at their borders.
“The Security Council underscores the critical need for Member States to significantly increase their border management efforts in order to implement resolution 2178 (2014), including through strengthened border control measures and greater law enforcement cooperation as well as greater collection and sharing of terrorist identities for screening purposes among relevant national, regional, and local authorities. The Security Council underscores in this regard, particularly for air and land travel, the importance of international collaboration amongst States’ border security and customs officials and providing them the necessary tools and authorities to effectively monitor and prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters.
“The Security Council reiterates its call on Member States to improve international, regional, and subregional cooperation to prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters from or through their territories. Recognizing that transit countries face enormous difficulties in terms of disrupting access to conflict zones in the absence of reliable intelligence, the Security Council calls on Member States to increase and improve intra and inter regional information sharing between origin and transit states in a timely manner. The Security Council also encourages greater coordination between Member States and with private sector stakeholders such as airlines and travel agents to more effectively counter the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. The Security Council further notes the important contributions that public-private partnerships and civil society actors can make in efforts to prevent and combat terrorism.
“The Security Council notes with continuing appreciation the efforts of Interpol to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters. The Security Council expresses concern, however, that Interpol’s foreign terrorist fighter database still only contains a portion of basic identifying information of known foreign terrorist fighters, notes that global utilization could be significantly increased, and calls on Member States to increase exchanging information with, and use of, Interpol’s foreign terrorist fighter database to help identify, monitor or prevent the transit of foreign terrorist fighters, to enhance and complement bilateral, regional, and other international information sharing arrangements and databases for countering foreign terrorist fighters. Such reporting may include providing additional basic identifying information on known foreign terrorist fighters contained in the database, as well as systematic reporting of Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) to Interpol and broad use of Interpol’s I-24/7 network at ports of entry. The Security Council encourages Interpol to continue intensifying its efforts with respect to the foreign terrorist fighter threat, and calls on the international community to strengthen Interpol’s capabilities to support Member States’ efforts in this regard, and develop capacity building assistance for Member States to facilitate broader use of Interpol’s I-24/7 network and reporting to Interpol’s SLTD database.
“The Security Council notes with concern that terrorist recruitment efforts, in particular by ISIL, appear to be increasingly targeting women and youth and stresses the need for Member States to more effectively identify and work with relevant local communities and civil society leaders to develop comprehensive solutions to the threat of recruitment and radicalization to violence, notably through programs at schools and in prisons and recognizing the role that victims of terrorism can play in countering radicalization, and develop robust social-media campaigns and counter-messaging efforts to blunt terrorist narratives and online recruitment attempts.
“The Security Council expresses concern over the increased use by terrorists and their supporters of communications technology for the purpose of radicalizing to terrorism, recruiting and inciting others to commit terrorist acts, including through the internet, and financing and facilitating the travel and subsequent activities of foreign terrorist fighters, and underlines again the need for Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite support for terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with other obligations under international law.
“The Security Council further expresses its concern that facilitation networks continue to operate and enable the regular flow of foreign terrorist fighters coming from many parts of the world into Syria and Iraq, which must be shut down as soon as possible. The Security Council reaffirms that Member States shall prevent and suppress the financing of the travel and of the activities of foreign terrorist fighters in accordance with paragraph 6 of resolution 2178 (2014), recalls its decision in resolution 1373 (2001) that all Member States shall ensure that any person who participates in the financing of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice, and stresses the need to disrupt and dismantle facilitation networks, consistent with international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.
“The Security Council recognizes the need to assess global progress in the implementation of international obligations under resolution 2178 (2014) that can enable the international community to target its attention and resources on one of the most significant challenges and obstacles faced by Member States today, especially those in the most affected regions. The Security Council therefore requests the Monitoring Team and the CTED to provide a joint presentation to a joint meeting of the 1267/1989 Al Qaida Sanctions Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee an impact assessment of member states’ implementation-related actions for resolution 2178 (2014) to date that includes quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the foreign terrorist fighter threat, its trends and metrics, member states’ actions to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters that could include interdictions and prosecutions, and other relevant outcome-related information on member states’ recent actions gathered through the use of the Monitoring Team and CTED’s regular assessment tools and country visits conducted for the most affected countries. The Security Council requests the two committees, in continuation of the request found in paragraph 26 of resolution 2178 (2014), to hold such a meeting in preparation for a Security Council meeting after the one-year anniversary of the adoption of resolution 2178 (2014).
“The Security Council further requests that the 1267/1989 Al Qaida Sanctions Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee continue to pay due attention to concrete steps taken by Member States to implement resolution 2178 (2014), including the creation of new or enhancement of existing laws, law enforcement authorities and tools, national and multilateral information collection and sharing initiatives, border management programs and capabilities, and capacity building assistance to those Member States most affected by the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon while properly balancing the need to fulfill other tasks within their mandates.
“The Security Council welcomes the report (S/2015/358) provided by the Monitoring Team through the 1267/1989 Al Qaida Sanctions Committee, and the reports (S/2015/338 and S/2015/377) provided by the CTED through the Counter-Terrorism Committee on foreign terrorist fighters. The Security Council strongly recommends the Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Office, in close consultation with CTED and based on its Counter-Terrorism Committee-approved analyses and reports and taking into account the 1267/1989 Al Qaida Sanctions Committee-approved analytical reports produced by the Monitoring Team, to develop a United Nations capacity building implementation plan for countering the flow of foreign terrorist fighters through the CTITF FTF Working Group. The Security Council also strongly recommends that the CTITF Office include in this plan its priority recommendations for capacity building assistance needs of the most affected Member States and set out a prioritized list of capacity building and technical assistance programs to be implemented by CTITF entities and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) over the next 24 months.
“The Security Council underscores the importance of the CTITF undertaking such delivery of capacity building programs in consultation and cooperation with CTED, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Interpol, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Customs Organization, the International Organization for Migration, and other relevant and appropriate institutions capable of providing the needed technical advice, including the International Air Transport Association, Global Counterterrorism Forum and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, and encourages Member States to provide needed financial and other assistance to CTITF and UNCCT.
“The Security Council strongly urges Member States, if they are able, to assist in the delivery of impactful capacity building and other technical assistance needed by the most affected States, especially those burdened with the need to commit extraordinary resources to counter the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon including states neighbouring zones of armed conflict in which foreign terrorist fighters are active, including by promoting the sharing of lessons learned and adopting best practices, on the range of measures required by resolutions 2178 (2014) and 1373 (2001) to counter the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. The Security Council encourages Member States to coordinate with CTITF, when appropriate, in order to ensure more efficient and effective delivery of technical assistance.”