The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.

 

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Statements and Speeches

Statement by Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts”

14 April 2016

Mr President,

My delegation would like to congratulate China for assuming the Presidency of the Security Council and expresses its appreciation for convening this important debate on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

Recent acts of terrorism across the world have again exposed the callous and heinous nature of terrorism – indiscriminate killing and maiming, damage to property and infrastructure, fostering fear in local communities, and undermining social and economic confidence.

While old threats remain, new threats and vulnerabilities have developed with the emergence of a new, technologically advanced and skilled generation of terrorists who harbour territorial and transnational ambitions, who are willing to sacrifice women and children in service of their cause.

South Africa stands firmly with the rest of the international community in its condemnation of these attacks and reiterates its stance that terrorism, in whatever form and from whichever quarter, must be condemned.

Mr President,

We remain cognizant that no country is immune and we are all vulnerable to this threat; coupled with terrorism’s global reach and changing nature, international cooperation in countering this threat is critical. International efforts should therefore support a comprehensive, multifaceted and integrated approach to deal with this scourge. Efforts should be focused on countering the radicalization and recruitment of individuals; hampering the movement of terrorists and the flow of funds; and contradicting and disputing the terrorist narrative, notably on the Internet.

No country can shoulder this burden alone and therefore the South African Government wishes to renew its pledge to fully support the global campaign against terrorism within the framework of the United Nations - the centrality of the UN in coordinating and facilitating international efforts is pivotal if we are to succeed.

We also welcome initiatives and efforts that promote dialogue, tolerance, diversity and understanding among peoples, cultures and religions. Acts of mobilization directed against individuals, communities or nations, simply because of their faith, language or race cannot be tolerated.

Mr President,

South Africa reiterates its view that terrorism cannot be defeated militarily and cannot be dealt with solely through the use of force or coercive measures. We believe that the only way for our collective efforts to succeed is to address the root causes of terrorism.

There is a need to understand and address the conditions that make terrorism an attractive option to the disaffected. Engagement including through education, eliminating inequalities and working with disadvantaged groups of society, particularly the youth, and developing appropriate strategies at the national, regional, and international level remain critical.

In this context it becomes important to resolve conflicts in all parts of the globe, including the search for lasting peace in the Middle East. Promoting political solutions aimed at resolving conflict and creating the conditions for a better future over the long-term will go a long way to counter this scourge. These solutions should be based on all-inclusive dialogue without prejudicing any party.

International cooperation in combating terrorism should also include a joint commitment to eradicate poverty and under-development. Counter-measures can never be sustainable if these factors are not addressed in tandem with counter-terror initiatives.

Mr President,

The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly remains a useful collective and flexible tool for guiding the international community’s response to terrorism. Together with the Secretary-General’s Plan for Countering Violent Extremism, it provides a holistic and multifaceted response to the many facets of this challenge, premised on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

At the regional level, recognizing the need to strengthen cooperation and develop a common and coordinated approach to counter this threat, the Southern African Development Community developed a regional counter-terrorism strategy, formally adopted during its 35th Summit in August 2015.

South Africa’s counter-terrorism efforts are guided by the values of human dignity, human rights and the rule of law, as enshrined in our Constitution. We have adopted a National Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which is closely aligned to the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. At the centre of the strategy are five pillars, and each contains a set of key priorities to be addressed in order to counter this threat. The pillars are understanding and prediction; prevention; mitigation; combating; and dealing with consequences. Our National Strategy provides a comprehensive and proportionate response to the threat of international terrorism and extremism to South Africa’s democracy.  It takes both local and international best practice into account, while upholding human rights and the rule of law.  Furthermore, the South African Government works closely with various organisations established by our Constitution to promote and foster social, cultural, religious and linguistic dialogue, as well as social cohesion.

In conclusion Mr President,

We acknowledge the valuable role the United Nations continues to fulfil in countering this scourge. With its global reach and mandate, and itself the target of devastating terrorist attacks, it is best placed to deal with this threat in all its forms, while helping to ensure global efforts are rooted in respect for human rights, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

I thank you.