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English topics / GLOBAL ISSUES.doc
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Terrorism

Terrorism is one of the threats against which States must protect their citizens.  States have not only the right but also the duty to do so.  But States must also take the greatest care to ensure that counter-terrorism measures do not mutate into measures used to choak, or justify, violations of human rights.  Terrorism has a nasty habit of causing the whole spectrum of opinion in a society to lurch in a repressive direction.

Internationally, we are beginning to see the increasing use of what I call the “T-word” –- terrorism –- to demonize political opponents, to throttle freedom of speech and the press, and to delegitimize legitimate political grievances.  We are seeing too many cases where States living in tension with their neighbours make opportunistic use of the fight against terrorism to threaten or justify new military action on long-running disputes.

Similarly, States fighting various forms of unrest or insurgency are finding it tempting to abandon the slow, difficult, but sometimes necessary processes of political negotiation, for the deceptively easy option of military action.

Just as terrorism must never be excused, so must genuine grievances never be ignored.

We must act with determination to address, indeed solve, the political disputes and long-standing conflicts which underlie, fuel, and generate support for terrorism.  To do so is not to reward terrorism or its perpetrators; it is to diminish their ability to find refuge or recruits, in any cause, any country.  Only then can we truly know that the war on terrorism has been won -– and the world made a safer, better, more just place.

Terrorism is a global threat with global effects; its methods are murder and mayhem, but its consequences affect every aspect of the United Nations agenda –- from development to peace to human rights and the rule of law.  No part of the United Nations mission is safe from the effects of terrorism; and no part of the world is immune from this scourge.

The United Nations has a clear obligation to deal with this global threat.  The United Nations has an indispensable role to play in providing the legal and organizational framework within which the international campaign against terrorism can unfold.  But our unrelenting position must be that any sacrifice of freedom or the rule of law within States, or any generation of new disputes between States in the name of anti-terrorism, is to hand the terrorists a victory that no act of theirs alone could possibly bring.

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