UN Focuses on Global Threat of Terrorism

UNITED NATIONS ~ The UN Security Council held a day-long open debate this week at Croatia’s request on how to combat terrorism, a threat which UN chief Ban Ki-moon described as a “global scourge.”

The 15-member council capped the debate by adopting a non-binding statement emphasizing “the central role of the United Nations in the global struggle against terrorism.”

The Council “believes that terrorist safe havens continue to be a significant concern and reaffirms the need for states to strengthen cooperation in order to find, deny safe haven and bring to justice … any person who supports, facilitates, participates or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or commission of terrorist acts.”

The statement, read out by Croatian President Stipe Mesic, whose country chairs the council this month, said the council renewed its call on states “to become parties as soon as possible to all relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and to implement those they are party to.”

Ban lambasted as the most recent example of “mad, misguided individuals run amok,” the suspected Pakistan-linked extremists who killed 172 people in the Indian city of Mumbai two weeks ago.

“Terrorism is a global scourge,” the UN secretary general told the council. “Combating it must be one of the international community’s main priorities.

“We need to defend the human rights that terrorism so brutally violates. We need to defend the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 60th anniversary of which we commemorate tomorrow,” he said on Tuesday.

India and Pakistan meanwhile sparred over the alleged role of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Mumbai mayhem, with Indian Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed demanding that “all those who were in any way responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attacks, wherever they may be, be brought to justice.”

UN diplomats have so far stumbled over an acceptable definition of terrorism, particularly in the Middle East, where groups seen by some countries as terrorists are viewed by others as freedom fighters.

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