18 March 2005
Panel Discussion at the United Nations on Countering Terrorism
VIENNA, 18 March (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) today hosted a panel discussion to discuss issues related to the global strategy against terrorism unveiled by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his keynote address at the Madrid International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security last week.
In her introduction, Nasra Hassan, Director, UNIS, referred to the key elements of a United Nations system-wide strategy to counter terrorism worldwide, as outlined by the Secretary-General. He detailed the five basic pillars of what he termed a principled, comprehensive strategy to fight terrorism globally:
- Dissuade disaffected groups from choosing terrorism as a tactic to achieve their goals;
- Deny terrorists the means to carry out their attacks;
- Deter States from supporting terrorists;
- Develop State capacity to prevent terrorism;
- Defend human rights in the struggle against terrorism.
The panel included senior officials from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Dr. Peter R. Neumann, Programme Director of the Madrid International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security. Dr. Neumann spoke about the Madrid Conference, its outcomes and - in particular - its final document, the Madrid Agenda. He explained how it ties in with the Secretary General's global strategy, and how the two initiatives could complement each other.
UNODC elaborated on how to implement specific aspects of the strategy, in particular, its role in assisting States to develop anti-terrorism legislation, build national capacity for its implementation and ensure compliance with the principles of rule of law. The panelists also introduced current UNODC activities on kidnapping, juvenile victims of crime, and fraud, and highlighted the agenda of the upcoming 11th World Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
The World Congress on Crime will bring together policy makers and experts from around the world to advance such global issues as terrorism, organized crime, economic and financial crime and corruption. Outcomes from this Congress will impact criminal justice policies as well as national procedures and professional practices throughout the world, said Eduardo Vetere, Director, Division for Treaty Affairs, UNODC. High-level attendees at the Congress will adopt a declaration which will set the anti-crime agenda for the near future.
UNODC recently concluded three expert meetings attended by international experts working in these areas. The workshop on juvenile victims of crime developed a set of guidelines on matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime; the expert group meeting on kidnapping refined a draft manual on best practices to counter kidnapping; and the experts meeting on fraud discussed the current status of national and transnational concerns relating to fraud and identity theft.
Jean-Paul Laborde, Chief, Terrorism Prevention Branch, UNODC, outlined the work of his office in encouraging countries to ratify the 12 universal anti-terrorism instruments and assisting countries to strengthen their legal regimes against terrorism through technical assistance activities such as legislative drafting, implementation of new laws, and training of criminal justice officials; 108 countries have been reached since October 2002.
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