U.N. Chief Urges Creation of International Pact Against Terrorism

As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called again for creation of a international antiterror accord that has been stymied by disagreements over what acts and which groups should be labeled as terroristic, Reuters reported (see GSN, Sept. 28, 2010).

"Our goal is to have a comprehensive convention dealing with the whole of international terrorism," Ban said at a press conference in Australia.

There are in excess of 13 U.N. treaties that deal with aspects of terrorism, including weapons of mass destruction and financial support for violent extremists. However, there is no single treaty that unifies all antiterrorism elements.

"Disagreement among member states" has undermined efforts to reach a global consensus on the matter, Ban said. (James Grubel, Reuters, Sept. 9).

Previous rounds of talks on a possible treaty have all ended unsuccessfully due to member nations' inability to agree on the definition of acts of terrorism or who should be considered a terrorist, the Associated Press reported.

There is disagreement among U.N. member nations over whether specific Palestinian organizations should be labeled as terroristic and there is also no unity between India's supporters and allies of its longtime foe, Pakistan.

United Nations Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force Chairman Robert Orr said a 2006 U.N. plan and the multiple other treaties that deal with the threat are restricted in what they can achieve.

The 2006 international counterterrorism strategy "has operationally everything we need to fight terrorism with the backing of all the U.N. member states. What it doesn't have is the legal enforceability of a convention in specific areas," Orr said.

"Legally, international law covers almost everything that you would want it to cover. What it doesn't is this gray area: If someone is accusing someone else of engaging in terrorist activities, there's no clinical definition of whether or not they are," the chairman continued (Rod McGuirk, Associated Press/Google News, Sept. 8).

September 9, 2011
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As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called again for creation of a international antiterror accord that has been stymied by disagreements over what acts and which groups should be labeled as terroristic, Reuters reported (see GSN, Sept. 28, 2010).