Remarks by Steven Hill, U.S. Deputy Legal Adviser, On Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, at the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee

Steven Hill, Deputy Legal Adviser, U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
October 7, 2013


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, as well as those of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and other multilateral bodies aimed at developing practical tools to further the implementation of the UN CT framework.

We look forward to the next review of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy, particularly as an opportunity to examine and evaluate efforts underway to increase Member States’ implementation of this important strategy. We strongly welcome the efforts of the United Nations to facilitate the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law while countering terrorism, to recognize the role that victims of terrorism can play in countering violent extremism, to improve border management, and to target financial measures to counter terrorism. We are pleased to note our voluntary contributions to the Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force to develop assistance and training in this regard.

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 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. We have been working closely with the U.S. Congress to pass 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 counterterrorism framework. Concerning the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, we recognize that, despite the best efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee Chair and Coordinator, negotiations remain at an impasse on current proposals. We will listen carefully to the statements of other delegates at this session as we continue to grapple with these challenging issues.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2013/172