The Fight against Terrorism [fr]
The United Nations plays a dual role in the fight against terrorism: a normative role, with the adoption of resolutions to prevent and punish terrorism; and a coercive role, through the imposition of sanctions on individuals and terrorist groups. As a permanent member of the Security Council, France is a critical player in this international fight.
- 1. France is involved in the UN’s normative role in the fight against terrorism
- 2. France actively contributes to the sanctions regime against Daesh and Al-Qaeda
It was in the wake of the September 11 attacks that the Counter-Terrorism Committee (Committee 1373), was created by resolution 1373 and adopted on September 28, 2001. Since then, Members States have been required to adopt a certain number of measures designed to combat terrorism and promote cooperation between countries on the accession to international counter-terrorism instruments. They must regularly report to the Security Council on the measures they have taken to this end. The Committee receives technical support from the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).
Resolutions adopted between 2001 and 2014 primarily targeted the terrorist threat embodied by Al-Qaeda. Since 2014 and the rise of Daesh, the Security Council has adopted numerous resolutions to specifically combat the terrorist threat represented by that organization and foreign terrorist fighters. These resolutions ask Member States to strengthen national measures to prevent and punish the recruitment, organization or financing of terrorist groups and to step up international cooperation. Resolution 2178, adopted by the leaders of Security Council member nations in September 2014, for example, asked States to strengthen their national laws to keep their citizens from traveling to conflict zones for the purpose of committing terrorist acts. On November 20, 2015, one week after the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution submitted by France requiring greater mobilization and coordination among Member States in the fight against Daesh (resolution 2249).
Weakening terrorist groups by combating the financing of terrorism is another French priority. It was reaffirmed in December at a meeting of Security Council finance ministers at which resolution 2253 was adopted. This resolution encourages States to track the suspicious movements of funds, freeze the assets of listed individuals and entities, and limit the use of cash in the economy, while advocating greater cooperation among Member States. In March 2017, France and Italy submitted a resolution illuminating the ties between the illegal trade in cultural assets and the financing of terrorism (resolution 2347, adopted unanimously).
Many other resolutions that correspond to France’s other priorities in the fight against terrorism have also been adopted in recent years; among them, resolutions on the terrorist threat to civil aviation (resolution 2309); international legal cooperation on counterterrorism (resolution 2322); the ties between sexual violence, terrorism, and human trafficking (resolution 2331); the protection of critical infrastructure from terrorist threats (resolution 2341); and the fight against terrorist propaganda, particularly on the Internet (resolution 2354).
On the national level, France has implemented these priorities, particularly in its action plan against radicalization and terrorism, updated in July 2018.
On September 6, 2002, the 193-nation UN General Assembly adopted a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy that France supports and enforces. This strategy is designed to provide a consistent approach to current mechanisms for combating terrorism, and to strengthen cooperation among States and international or regional organizations involved in the fight against terrorism. It also calls on the General Assembly to oversee its implementation and to effect regular examinations and updates (every two years).
It consists of four pillars:
In order to ensure the implementation of this strategy, in 2006 the UN established a Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. It facilitates coordination among the various entities of the UN family dealing with this issue. Within this special task force, it is the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) that has been supporting the strategy since December 2011. It has an Advisory Board (to which France belongs) that offers guidance on the Center’s work.
These two structures were recently integrated into the Office of Counter-Terrorism established on June 15, 2017, following the General Assembly’s adoption of resolution 71/291. Headed by an under-secretary-general, the office takes over the duties that were previously carried out by the Implementation Task Force.
In 1999, a sanctions regime (including a travel ban, the freezing of assets, and an arms embargo) was instituted against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Monitoring is provided by a committee known as Committee 1267 (for resolution 1267, which created it), comprising experts from the 15 Security Council member states. It is supported by a Monitoring Team made up of independent experts appointed by the Secretary General.
Several resolutions were subsequently reworked and the system that had been instituted was refined. An Ombudsperson position was created in 2009 to impartially and independently receive and examine delisting requests for individuals and entities sanctioned under this system; it reports to the Sanctions Committee (resolution 1904).
Two years later, in 2011, in order to better take into account the specific characteristics of the situation in Afghanistan, the sanctions regime was divided into two parts to deal with Al-Qaeda and its affiliates on one hand (1267 Regime) and the Taliban on the other (1988 Regime). In December 2015, the 1267 Regime was renamed to take into account the emergence of Daesh. The latest update to the sanctions regime against Daesh and Al-Qaeda occurred on July 20, 2017, with Security Council resolution 2368. It calls on States to further strengthen counter-terrorism measures, particularly on the financial level.