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As terrorists strike Dhaka, India calls for quick adoption of global anti-terror pact

United Nations: As terrorists struck a massive blow in the region Friday, India called for quick action to adopt the long-stalled Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) and expressed disappointment that the General Assembly failed to push for its early adoption.

India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Syed Akbarduddin. Pic/IANS
India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Syed Akbarduddin. Pic/IANS

Speaking at the General Assembly while Islamic State terrorists were carrying out an attack in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave and taking hostages, India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said, "The perpetrators of terrorist attacks as well as the States that support and sponsor or provide safe havens to terrorists or terrorist groups must be made accountable."

Urging all nations to adopt the CCIT by the next session, he said that India was disappointed that the resolution on Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the Assembly failed to advance its early enactment.

Adopting it "would show that the international community is determined and pledges to take concrete actions on counter-terrorism by filling in the gaps that are there in the existing regime," he said.

The resolution lacked a sense of urgency as it merely called upon "all States to make every effort to conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism."

Akbaruddin later explained to IANS that India's "disappointment was that we would have preferred stronger language" in the resolution about the CCIT, "basically setting a finite time frame for adoption of CCIT."

The convention was originally proposed by India 20 years ago and its draft has been deadlocked since 2012 because of differences on defining terrorism and terrorists. Certain countries claim they are "liberation movements" and "freedom fighters" and try to exempt those that they favor.

"No belief, justification, political cause or argument can be used to justify the acts of terrorism," Akbaruddin said in his speech to the Assembly.

The failure to adopt the convention, Akbaruddin said, "signals that the exponential rise in terrorist activities around the world has left us untouched."

He reiterated India's suggestion to create a counter-terrorism czar at the UN to oversee the fight against terror across the organisation and "convey a clear signal that counter terrorism has a significant place on the UN agenda."

"Currently there are nearly 40 entities involved in different ways in the fight against terrorism," Akbaruddin said. "It would, therefore, be useful to have a senior official or an entity to coordinate the entire range of activities and bring more focus to such activities."

In working towards an international framework to fight terrorism, he said that India has concluded more than 40 bilateral treaties on extradition and mutual legal assistance and has set up joint mechanisms to discuss counter-terrorism with more than 25 countries.

The Assembly resolution urged nations "that have not done so to consider becoming parties in a timely manner to the existing international conventions and protocols against terrorism." ,

Masud Bin Momen, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, noted that at that very moment a situation involving "armed assailants" was unfolding in his country. He called for making adequate funds available for implementing counter-terrorism initiatives.

The Assembly resolution asked member nations "to prevent the abuse of non-governmental, non-profit and charitable organisations by and for terrorists,." It urged these organisations to prevent attempts by terrorists to take advantage of their status.

The French under-secretary in charge of counter-terrorism, Catherine Calothy, also called for efficient coordination in UN's efforts and avoiding duplication. She added, "There can be no effectiveness without coordination."

Russian diplomat Vladimir Andreev also denounced the attempts to legitimise some terrorists. He said, "Politically driven practices in dividing terrorists into the 'bad guys' and the 'not-so-bad guys' had seen the destabilization of the Middle East and North Africa."

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