Statement of the A3 + Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Security Council on
“Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa”
(New York, 11 March 2020)
I am delivering this Statement on behalf of the A3 + 1: Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa and Tunisia.
At the outset, we would like to thank China for choosing to focus on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in Africa during its current presidency of the Security Council.
We welcome the adoption of the Statement by the President of the Security Council on this issue which constitutes a testimony of the unified efforts of the Council to address and combat this scourge.
Terrorism and violent extremism remain among the most serious threats to Africa’s stability and development. The threat is manifesting itself in a combination of small to large scale attacks on civilians and infrastructure. In many instances, it evolves into an open armed confrontations, unprecedented in terms of scale and impact, between terrorist groups and
States’ security institutions, leaving hundreds killed or maimed, thousands displaced, in poor humanitarian conditions, disrupting economic activity in the affected areas, instilling fear among populations, creating confusion and most of all, exhausting the already limited capacities of States institutions and forces.
It is important to note that terrorist groups in Africa, while driven primarily by a local agenda, have colluded with groups that existed beyond the Continent as evidenced by the emergence of Al Qaida and ISIL local affiliates to carry out their agendas in Africa.
These dynamics are having serious ramifications on the continent with ISIL’s attempts to resurface on African territories, particularly the Sahel region, while being driven out of Iraq and Syria.
In fact, foreign terrorist fighters are increasingly relocating into the continent. They are mainly attracted to the conflict zones and territories where government’s presence is weak, particularly along the porous borders. They exploit local grievances, poverty, lack of public services and security. They resort to the use barbaric force against populations and they engage in cross boarder criminal activities.
In short, terrorist groups in Africa, have become key factor of instability exacerbating conflicts and increasing their complexity, seriously challenging State authority and threatening regional and international peace and security. Certain Al-Qaida and Islamic State groups appear to be working together and coordinating attacks to grab large swaths of territory.
The ongoing war in Libya, always fueled by foreign players who keep sending weapons and fighters, is feeding this terrorist dynamics on the Continent and continue to reinforce terrorist groups and to affect the situation in Africa, especially in the Sahel region. We call on the concerned States to respect their obligations and to refrain from violating the Security Council’s arms embargo imposed on Libya. Likewise, we call on the Security Council to take up its responsibility to ensure full compliance with its related resolutions.
Similarly, the recurrent attacks suffered today by the populations in the Sahel countries, the Lake Tchad Basin and the Horn of Africa must challenge us all and encourage us to take measures to maintain international peace and security before it’s too late.
No later than last Sunday, a terrorist group attacked the villages of Dinguila and Barga in Northern Burkina Faso, killing 43 people and wounding many others. We condemn in the strongest terms this terrorist attack. We extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims and to the people of Burkina Faso and express our solidarity and full support to the Government of Burkina Faso in its efforts to fight terrorism.
African States and communities have shown great resilience and courage to stand in the face of terrorism and violent extremism. However, the situation urgently calls for the international community to strengthen its active and coordinated action in support of these efforts. In this regard, we would like to highlight the need for further action in the following areas:
- First, it is crucial to detect, disrupt and prosecute all means of support to terrorism in Africa, including providing financial resources to terrorist groups, supplying them with weapons, including small arms and lights weapons, facilitating the return and relocation of foreign terrorist fighters to conflict zones, as well as the exploitation of religion to radicalize and recruit young people and to justify the use of violence. Capacity building programs need to be reinforced to counter the terrorist narratives and the use of information and communication technologies to spread the terrorist propaganda.
- Second, address the root causes and conditions conducive to terrorism in Africa. Terrorism and violence find a breeding ground particularly in negative national or regional circumstances such as poor socioeconomic conditions, marginalization, lack of education, unemployment, gender inequality, human rights violations, political instability, social unrest and armed conflict. It is therefore important that States adopt comprehensive and integrated strategies to counter terrorism by promoting sustainable development, tackling poverty and inequality, protecting and promoting human rights, improving governance, including in the security sector, cracking down corruption, bolstering the participation and leadership of youth and women at all decision making levels. These strategies need to adopt a whole of government and whole of society approach, including through public private partnership and cooperation with civil society organizations in the development, implementation and assessment of counter terrorism measures.
- Third, address the existing and evolving inter-linkages between transnational organized crime and terrorism. The operational efficiency of terrorist groups in the region is enhanced by deconfliction and collaboration between them and criminal groups, as both use similar smuggling routes and invest in lucrative illicit activities including trafficking in arms, drugs, cultural property and natural resources, as well as through kidnapping for ransom, extortion, money-laundering and robbery.
- Fourth, strengthen the capacity of States to mitigate attacks on soft targets by establishing effective means to develop and further implement contingency and response plans in order to protect, investigate, respond to and recover from damage from terrorist attacks against soft targets.
- And finally, enhance the inter-agency, bilateral and regional coordination and information sharing, particularly in the fields of boarder security and management, criminal justice, travel information and police and intelligence cooperation. In this regard, we reiterate the importance of the AU efforts and initiatives, including the “Silencing the Guns” campaign aiming to achieve a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters. We also welcome the cooperation with the United Nations Counter Terrorism Office in the organization of the High-Level African Regional Counter-Terrorism Conference held in Nairobi in July 2019. We seize this opportunity to call for a stronger and a more coordinated international cooperation to implement counter terrorism measures and initiatives in the region, particularly with regards to the implementation of the International Coalition for the Sahel.
Finally, we reiterate our commitment to spare no efforts in combating terrorism and violent extremism in our Continent and to renew our will to do so, in accordance with the goals and principles of the UN Charter and within the respect of our obligations under international law, including human rights law, humanitarian law and refugee law. We stand ready to cooperate with our partners and all relevant stakeholders to achieve an Africa free from terrorism and violent extremism.