Security Council Briefing on Threats to International Peace and Security
National Statement on behalf of Sweden, Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni, at the Security Council briefing on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. Thursday, 08 June 2017, New York.
I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Feltman for his comprehensive briefing. We also welcome this timely and relevant report, which underscores a number of the significant features of the threat we face.
The attacks over the last weeks in Manchester, Kabul, Baghdad, London and Tehran are a stark reminder, if one were needed, of the continued and shared threat that we all face from terrorist groups. The aim of these acts is clear: to create fear and mistrust within communities and between countries. The attackers targeted women and children in Baghdad breaking their Ramadan fast with a treat of ice-cream. In Manchester they targeted young children, breathless with the joy of seeing their favourite singer perform.
However, in the response to these most recent attacks we have seen the opposite of fear and division. In fact, rather that fear, there were acts of courage and incredible bravery on the part of ordinary individuals. Rather that division, all sections of society - across many countries - came together in solidarity for vigils and marches that sent a message of unity and peace.
Since our last briefing in February, our capital, Stockholm, was the target of an attack that is being investigated as a terrorist attack. The perpetrator is suspected to be a sympathizer or member of Da'esh. In response, thousands of Swedes gathered in Stockholm's central square to mourn the dead, but also in a show of defiance. Showing, as our Prime Minister said, 'that there is a strength in Sweden that nobody can take away from us."
Responding to the threat of terrorism not only requires solidarity within countries, but also between countries. In March, Sweden hosted the First Nordic Regional Meeting of Security Services, which included the participation of the Monitoring Team. As noted in the trip report, the terrorist threat in the Nordic countries from ISIL is rising, in particular with regard to foreign terrorist fighters returning from conflict zones.
In order to counter and prevent the threat, we have introduced legislation specifically targeting foreign terrorist fighters and returnees. We have increased national inter-agency cooperation and taken steps to ensure that local actors are involved in the effort to prevent terrorism and violent extremism. Sweden now makes an assessment of each returnee, seeking to identify individuals who are deemed to pose a risk or are suspected of crimes. If they are found to pose such a risk, they are monitored, investigated and tried.
As part of our strong focus on prevention, we are putting in place mechanisms aimed at safeguarding vulnerable individuals, targeting, in particular, those at risk of radicalization. In addition, rehabilitation and support to defectors requires a broad spectrum of interventions at all levels – municipal, regional and national.
We stress the importance of strengthening the fight against impunity for terrorist acts, including by holding the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of terrorist attacks responsible. All measures against terrorism must be taken in compliance with international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law.
We must all make every effort possible to cut of the supply of finance to terrorist organisations. Domestically, we have revised the offence of terrorist financing in line with the updated international standards mentioned in the report. Even though we had successfully prosecuted and convicted individuals for terrorist financing before these revisions, we believe that the updated legislation will provide our law enforcement authorities with new possibilities for prosecuting terrorist financing in line with relevant Security Council resolutions and other international obligations.
We agree that information sharing on risks, as stated in paragraphs 38 and 39 of the report, is an essential tool in the fight against terrorist financing. The more the authorities and the private sector know about the means through which terrorists attempt to finance their activities, the better our opportunities to put an end to it. Our ultimate goal in this regard must be to detect and stop attacks before they take place.
We encourage the Secretary-General to apply an integrated gender perspective in future reports, as mandated in resolution 2242. Amongst Swedish foreign terrorist fighters, several have been women.
We want to reiterate the multiple roles played by women in relation to terrorism, including those of perpetrator, supporter, facilitator, victim and preventer. Each of these roles requires different approaches and strategies as part of our fight against terrorism.
The attacks we have witnesses over the last three weeks will not be the last; however, with a common will and collective action future attacks need not be inevitable. The message from those who have stood up with courage and dignity in the face of terrorist attacks is this: The resilience of the human spirit means that those who seek to sow terror will never truly succeed.