Statement by Mary B. DeRosa, Public Delegate, on Agenda Item 109 in the Sixth Committee: Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, October 3, 2011

Mary B. DeRosa
New York, NY
October 3, 2011


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The United States reiterates both its firm condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as our commitment to the common fight to end terrorism. All acts of terrorism – by whomever committed – are criminal, inhumane and unjustifiable, regardless of motivation. An unwavering and united effort by the international community is required if we are to succeed in preventing these heinous acts. In this respect, we recognize the United Nations’ central role in coordinating the efforts by member states in countering terrorism and bolstering the ability of states to prevent terrorist acts. We express our firm support for these UN efforts.

Recently, the Secretary-General hosted an extremely productive, high level symposium on counterterrorism which highlighted the different contributions the United Nations has made over the past decade to counter and prevent terrorism, and build a global community to speak out against it. Indeed, the evolution of the UN’s legal, policy and institutional counterterrorism efforts over the past decade has been remarkable. The evolution of the UN’s policy and institutional framework over the past decade, which includes the recent establishment of the UN Centre for Counterterrorism and hopefully will culminate with the Secretary-General’s announcement of the first-ever UN Counterterrorism coordinator, has been phenomenal. Focusing here on the legal developments, we recognize the great success of the United Nations, thanks in large part to the work of this Committee, in developing 18 universal instruments that establish a thorough legal framework for combating terrorism. The achievements of the past ten years are noteworthy. We have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of states who have become party to these important counterterrorism conventions. For example, over the past ten years 136 states have become party to the Terrorist Bombings Convention, and 170 states have become party to the Terrorist Financing Convention. The international community has also come together to conclude six new counterterrorism instruments, including a new convention on nuclear terrorism and updated instruments which cover new and emerging threats to civil aviation, maritime navigation, and the protection of nuclear material.

The United States recognizes that while the accomplishments of the international community in developing a robust legal counterterrorism regime are significant, there remains much work to be done. The 18 universal counterterrorism instruments are only effective if they are widely ratified and implemented. In this regard, we fully support efforts to promote ratification of these instruments, as well as efforts to promote their implementation. We draw particular attention to the six instruments concluded over the past decade – the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (Nuclear Terrorism Convention), the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM Amendment), the 2005 Protocols to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Protocols), and the 2010 Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation and its Protocol. The work of the international community began with the negotiation and conclusion of those instruments. But that work will only be completed when those instruments are widely ratified and fully implemented.

The United States is advancing in its own efforts to ratify these instruments. This week, the U.S. Congress is holding a hearing on legislation that would allow the United States to ratify the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, the CPPNM Amendment, and the SUA Protocols. As we undertake efforts to ratify these recent instruments, we urge other states not yet party to do likewise.

And as we move forward with our collective efforts to ratify and implement these instruments, the United States remains willing to work with other states to build upon and enhance the legal counterterrorism framework, including through efforts to finalize the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

Concerning that Convention, we recognize that, despite the best efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee Chair and Coordinator, negotiations remain at an impasse on current proposals. A continued impasse only serves to highlight those issues that divide us in the collective fight against terrorism. We reaffirm what we stated earlier this year at the Ad Hoc Committee, including that the United States remains willing to work with other states to find ways to finalize a text that builds upon and enhances the existing legal framework.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2011/193