United Nations Security Council Open debate on "Countering the Narrative and Ideologies of Terrorism"

Statement by His Excellency Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed

Foreign Secretary of the Republic of Maldives

New York, 11 May 2016

Mr President,

Let me start by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council, and also convening this debate coinciding with the High-level Thematic Debate on the United Nations, Peace and Security organised by the President of the General Assembly. This is indeed an opportune time to discuss this important issue of countering the narratives and ideologies of terrorism, which is at the heart of the war against terrorism.

It has become increasingly evident that the 'psychological weaponry' used by various terrorist groups to propagate their narratives and ideologies to recruit supporters and fighters are equally, if not more dangerous than the bombs and guns they use in attacking civilians. This has more deep rooted and lasting impacts, which are far more complex to address and resolve.

Yet, a greater proportion of resources allocated for combatting terrorism have been spent on combat operations. While such operations are important and necessary, we now recognise that defeating the terrorist ideologies is the lynchpin of eliminating the global threat of terrorism.

To do that, countries need to get a full grasp of the ideology of terrorism. We need to understand why a decent individual holding a decent job become so easily convinced to become the human weapon of the terrorists. We need to ask hard questions about whether the injustices and inequalities, and the racial or religious prejudices, such as the Islamophobia at national and international levels, are giving the terrorists an easy excuse to assault the principles, norms, and values that we have cherished for centuries. We have to gain a deeper understanding of the ideas that are fuelling and driving terrorism. Only a correct analysis of the situation will lead to developing correct strategies and tools to eliminate the menace of terrorism

The United Nations is suitably placed to lead the global efforts in combatting the ideas that drive terrorism. As the primary body mandated by the Charter to maintain peace and security, the Security Council has the key role within the organization. Although various resolutions have been adopted by the Security Council, there is still much to be done to address the root causes.

Security Council Resolutions 1624 of 2005 and 2178 of 2014 are important steps in the right direction. At the same time, we also need to quickly finalise the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, which is currently being discussed at the Sixth Committee. And we should work collectively to overcome the stalemates in the negotiations, finalise and implement this treaty, which has been in the works for almost ten year.

Most importantly, the UN system can help countries to work collaboratively. It can help member-States to cultivate the values of respect, and in promoting peace at every level in the society.

The Maldives enacted the Counter Terrorism legislation in October last year in an effort to stop Maldivians from engaging in terrorist activities. The law restricts the publication and distribution of any material, even through media channels or the Internet, which could incite terrorist acts, or propagate terrorist ideologies.

Following this law, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom formulated a comprehensive national policy to counter terrorism and militant radicalism in the country. And in February this year, President Yameen established the National Counter Terrorism Centre or the NCTC. This Centre is mandated to formulate counter-terrorism guidelines and procedures based on the analysis of international benchmarks and best practices. The NCTC is set to gather and analyze intelligence, from all state agencies, on terrorist activities and inform relevant state authorities. It also seeks to identify radicalised elements within the communities and run targeted rehabilitation programmes for those in need.

Our vision is clear and our commitment is strong in stopping, defeating, and eliminating the menace of terrorism. To achieve that, the Maldives, and the rest of the world needs the leadership of the United Nations to counter the ideologies that shape and drive terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Thank you.