Speaking at the General Assembly Sixth Committee meeting on ‘Measures to eliminate international terrorism’, First Secretary/Legal adviser in India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Yedla Umasankar, on Wednesday called for increased cooperation between global anti-terror body Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the United Nations to combat terror financing.
“The flow of resources meant to produce terror are required to be stopped by States for which collective inter-State efforts are required at regional and sub-regional levels. The FATF has a significant role in setting global standards for preventing and combating terrorist financing and the UN needs to increase cooperation with such bodies,” Umasankar said.
He said India “strongly” condemns “direct or indirect financial assistance given to terrorist groups or individual members thereof by States or its machineries, to pursue their activities, including in defending the criminal cases involving terrorist acts against them.”
India’s comments come as Pakistan had requested the UN Security Council’s anti-terror committee to allow Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed to withdraw money from his bank account for basic expenses.
Hafiz Saeed, a UN designated terrorist on whom the US has placed a $10 million reward, was arrested on July 17 this year in a terror financing case in Pakistan. He was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.
Although Pakistan appears to comply with most of the parameters set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to crack down on proscribed terror groups, it has been quietly unfreezing their accounts and not providing any information about what it is doing to ensure that the money does not go back into terrorist funding, the Asia Pacific Group in a report has said.
Islamabad has partially complied with 36 of the 40 parameters set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at the time of the country’s inclusion in the grey list.
The long-awaited 228-page report, titled “Mutual Evaluation Report 2019” was published on Saturday, a week before the FATF is set to announce its decision to remove or retain Pakistan in its grey list.
According to UN provisions, all countries are required to freeze the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated terrorists. The resolution also provides for states to sanction basic expenses of the designated individuals if there is no-objection over it.
“…the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) being discussed by the UN General Assembly over the last decade has resulted in little impact on the ground. The Sanctions Committees established by the UN Security Council have become selective tools due to opaque working methods and politicized decision making,” he said.
He reiterated India’s firm belief that the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism (CCIT) will provide a strong legal basis for the fight against terrorism and will be in the interest of all Member States to have a multilateral and collective dimension of counter terrorism effort.
“The inability to agree on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism remains one of the great gaps in the international legislative framework that would strengthen efforts to destroy safe havens for terrorists, their financial flows and their support networks. We need to move forward in adopting the draft text of CCIT which is a balanced one and has emerged after long discussions,” he said.
“The menace of international terrorism with its wide roots and numerous global connections has been recognized as grave international concern by every major international gathering of recent years,” Umasankar said, adding that the growing inter-linkages between terrorist groups, cross-border operations including terror financing networks, propagating ideologies of hatred through exploitation of modern technologies and funding arms and weapons have certainly left no country aloof from the impact of terrorism.
“Terrorists exploit the civil liberties, religious tolerance and cultural diversity in our countries. They seek to destroy the democratic fabric by fomenting sectarian divisions and cultural tensions and ultimately deprive us of that very freedom which they have exploited,” he highlighted.
He voiced India’s commitment to counter-terrorism by exchanging information, building capacities for effective border controls, preventing misuse of modern technologies, monitoring illicit financial flows and cooperating in investigation and judicial procedures.