UN Security Council Open Debate: Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

  • Murray McCully
Foreign Affairs

As delivered by Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 11 May 2016 (New York time).

Mr President, members of the Security Council, may I start by thanking Minister Shoukry for convening this debate on countering terrorist narratives and ideologies.

Today we deal with a threat whose scale and spread requires a global and collective response, and surely commands the attention of the Security Council.

My country, New Zealand, once regarded itself as largely removed from the threat of international terrorism, protected by its geography.

Sadly, we now live in a world where terrorism is a global enterprise, exported through modern technology and sophisticated social media.

Every society has its element of disenchanted and disenfranchised who provide a ready market for extremist ideology.

Every society has its element of disturbed or criminal individuals who find international terrorist branding a convenient cloak.

New Zealand strongly supports the four pillars of the UN Counter Terrorism Strategy: addressing the conditions that spread terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; counter terrorism capacity building and respecting human rights and the rule of law.

The United Nations Security Council has a central role to play in guiding a comprehensive international response to terrorism.

I want to make three brief points:

First, the most important contribution the Security Council can make to combat terrorism is to improve its capacity to prevent and resolve conflict.

Unresolved conflicts in Syria and Iraq are fertile breeding grounds for terrorism and extremist ideology- a phenomenon we have already witnessed in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The unresolved conflict in Palestine has now fuelled generations of hopelessness and extremism.

So my first message is that the Council must face up to its core business of preventing and resolving conflicts if it wants to eliminate the conditions under which extremist narratives and ideologies will breed and spread.

Second, stronger, fairer, and more inclusive societies are the best long term sustainable defence against the spread of terrorism.

Establishing unifying, inclusive governance that respects human rights and the rule of law and does not succumb to the short term temptation to marginalise significant groups, is critical to the long term fight against extremist ideologies.

This is true in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is true in all countries.

Third, Governments will need to be increasingly active and innovative in their counter-terrorism strategies, and continue to improve cooperation across national borders.

This  has to be done globally – in particular through full implementation of the Council’s sanctions regimes targeting ISIL and Al Qaida, and the Taleban – and regionally.    

For my country, enhanced cooperation across the Asia Pacific region is of great importance, especially through the growing number of ASEAN-based counter-terrorism initiatives.

As we see greater success against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, the return of foreign terrorist fighters will become a challenge for many nations, my own included.

Cooperation across such areas as policing, border control, and aviation security will be increasingly important.

Policies relating to detention and reintegration of terrorist detainees present questions that are both complex and challenging.

As I have already said, the United Nations Security Council has a central role to play in guiding a comprehensive international response to combatting terrorist narrative and ideologies.

At home, in our region, and further afield, New Zealand is committed to playing its full part.