STATEMENT BY MR. GEORGY V. MIKHNO, HEAD OF THE DELEGATION OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AT THE 19th SESSION OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMITTEE AGAINST TERRORISM (CICTE)
Russia consistently advocates the necessity to combine international efforts in order to establish a broad antiterrorist front that would act on the basis of the norms of international law, without politicization and “double standards”.
We attach great importance to enhancing antiterrorist cooperation with the states of the Western Hemisphere, which should be focused on combating the UN Security Council designated terrorist groups and individuals. We also appreciate existing practice of bilateral consultations with a number of the Organization of American States, including the United States.
Despite substantial military losses in Syria and Iraq ISIL continues to pose a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security. A dangerous trend is the cross-border movement of foreign terrorist-fighters (FTF), including their return to the countries of origin or third countries under the guise of refugees. They possess a high potential to radicalize the population and destabilize the situation. In this regard we note the increased efforts by ISIL to create fallback positions in different regions of the world, including in Latin America.
Keeping the above-mentioned in mind, the key task is to improve the efficiency of the information exchange with a view to creating a common antiterrorist information space. We invite our CICTE partners to join International Counter-Terrorist Database administrated by the National Counterterrorism Committee of Russia. This database has already been shared by 46 special services from 35 States, as well as seven international organizations, including the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, INTERPOL, the CIS Anti-Terrorism Centre and the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.
The Database contains data on 190 terrorist organizations, over 11,000 reports about terrorist activities, as well as over 13,000 profiles of FTFs. We note with appreciation that Brazil and Nicaragua have already joined the ICTD.
Russia is ready to share its extensive counter-terrorism experience with the CICTE partners. Our competent agencies regularly organize capacity-building courses for the law enforcement and special services of Latin American and Caribbean countries. Earlier this year, three advanced training courses have been provided for the officers of the law enforcement agencies of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, at the educational institutions of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Two more training courses will be organized during the second half of the year. Should any country of the region be interested in the abovementioned training courses, we are ready to consider relevant application.
We attach special attention to identifying and suppressing the nexus of terrorism, organized crime and drug-trafficking. As an important contribution in this respect we consider the assistance provided by our country to the Latin American partners in training anti-drug personnel on a wide range of topics in the relevant centers of Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs in Managua and Lima and in training centers in Russia.
Countering financing of international terrorism is of paramount importance. We must ensure the comprehensive implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular 2199, 2253 and 2462, as well as FATF Standards, and enhance cooperation between financial intelligence units in order to identify individuals and legal entities that have financial and economic relations with terrorists.
At Russia's initiative, since 2016 FATF has been identifying sources and channels of providing financial support to ISIL, Al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist organizations. We are confident that if CICTE members join the implementation of this initiative, they will improve the effectiveness of the relevant multilateral efforts, as well as contribute to their own security.
Russia welcomes the growing international attention to the prevention of terrorism. We believe it is necessary to build any international antiterrorism and antiextremism cooperation on the basis of established international legal counter-terrorism framework (relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy); to recognize the central role of states and their competent authorities in combating terrorism and extremism including those on the international level.
We consider as short-sighted and dangerous the attempt to replace the most urgent issues of international cooperation against terrorism by implementing controversial concept of countering the so-called “violent extremism”.
Promoting PVE priorities that accept violations of the basis of international law is able to undermine efficiency of interaction in this quite new field of anti-extremist cooperation. In this regard, we are ready to work with the PVE-related issues only considering them as a subordinate part of the counter-terrorism dimension.
Russia has a unique tool in countering radicalization that allows to involve increasingly and effectively trustworthy traditional religious groups, as well as Russian educational, academic and business communities and other parts of the civil society in the counter-terrorist and counter-extremist efforts through public-private partnerships.
With our experience, we promote a number of important international initiatives aiming at counteracting the terrorist ideology. In 2016 the Russian Federation tabled at the UN Security Council a draft resolution on counteracting the terrorist ideology. However, its consideration was neglected by some States on far-fetched pretexts.
One more promising and very important contribution to combine efforts of the world community in the fight against terrorist ideology is the UN Security Council resolution 2354 adopted in May 2017, which established a "comprehensive international framework" with a set of guidelines and good practices to effectively counter ISIL, Al-Qaida and associated terrorist groups’ propaganda. We believe that this framework, a product of truly collective work and due consideration of various opinions in the UN Security Council, is a timely step forward to establish the relevant political and legal framework aimed at strengthening international efforts towards prevention of terrorism.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Convention on Countering Extremism developed with the leading role of Russia and China is an important achievement in international antiextremism cooperation. Signed in June 2017, it can be treated as a genuine standard for the adequate vision of antiextremism and antiterrorism tasks, as well as the relevant international cooperation. We invite our CICTE partners to consider acceding the Convention taking into account that it is open for accession by non-member States.
We believe that it is impossible to fight terrorist and extremist threats effectively without creating a public spirit of a full rejection of violence. We advocate the initiative to enshrine in the international legal language the concept of "voluntary counter-terrorism restrictions for the media and public persons", which means, first of all, that mass media representatives, politicians and officials should refrain from pumping tensions in the media context that could promote and provoke radicalization of public and political views leading to terrorism.
We consider it necessary to underline particularly the dangerous impact of terrorist and extremist content in the information space on the most vulnerable segments of the population, especially the young people, who are the main users of the Internet, social networks and instant messengers and do not have the necessary “immunity” from propaganda of violence that is justified by terrorists and extremists by means of ideological, political, nationalist or other slogans.
In conclusion I would also like to say a couple of words in regard to strengthening coordination of the relevant counterterrorism structures within the UN.
In this context we highly appreciate fruitful and high-quality activities of the recently established United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism led by a Russian national, Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov.
The Russian Federation confirms once again its readiness to cooperate closely with the states of the Western Hemisphere in order to counter international terrorism in the most effective and collective manner.
Thank you, Mister Chair.