The United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy – GCTS was adopted by consensus in 2006. It was a major step forward in maintaining and achieving international peace and security.
The GCTS has been in the news recently, thus, candidates appearing for upcoming UPSC Prelims and Mains can expect questions on this topic. It is also relevant for aspirants of other competitive exams.
Global Counter Terrorism Strategy – Why in the News?
The UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy- GCTS has been revised. India’s permanent representative to the UN, T S Trimurthy participated in the United Nation General Assembly debate on adoption of resolution on the 7th review of Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
- The UN General Assembly reviews the Strategy every two years, making it a living document attuned to member states’ counter-terrorism priorities. The General Assembly reviews the Strategy and considers the adoption of a resolution.
- This year the strategy was reviewed after three years. Following the on-set of COVID-19 pandemic, the General Assembly in May 2020 itself decided to postpone the seventh biennial review of the Strategy to its seventy-fifth session.
The information on United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy is relevant under the GS2 and GS3 part of the IAS exam.
Aspirants can check the following relevant links related to terrorism-
|Global Terror Convention||Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT)||Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS)|
What is UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy – GCTS?
- The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism.
- GCTS was adopted by consensus 15 years ago in 2006. All UN Member States agreed the first time to a common strategic and operational approach to fighting terrorism.
- The GCTS sends a clear message that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms and manifestations.
- It also resolves to take practical steps, individually and collectively, to prevent and combat terrorism. Those practical steps include a wide array of measures ranging from strengthening state capacity to counter terrorist threats to better coordinating UN System’s counter-terrorism activities.
Pillars or Function of UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy
The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the form of a resolution have to perform the following functions or is based on these 4 main pillars –
- Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism
- Measures to prevent and combat terrorism
- Measures to build states’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard
- Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
7th Review of UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy – Overview
- The 7th review of United Nations GSTC coincides with the landmark UN75 anniversary of the Organization, the fifteenth anniversary of the Strategy, and the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution (2001), which established the Counter-Terrorism Committee in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
- All Member States of the UN took part in the review of the Strategy to assist in steering the intergovernmental process.
- The President of the General Assembly has appointed the Permanent Representatives of Oman and Spain to act as co-facilitators.
- The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism – UNOCT were to support the co-facilitators as substantive secretariat.
India’s Stand on the 7th review of Global Counter Terrorism Strategy
The Indian ambassador to the United Nations, T S Tirumurti addressed the UN General Assembly debate on UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Following are the opinions or remarks by India on the 7th review of GSTC debate-
- The international community has acknowledged that the threat of terrorism is grave and universal, and can only be defeated by collective efforts of all UN member states.
- It was only after 9/11 that the worldcame together to fight terrorism collectively, before the 9/11 terror attacks, the world was divided into “your terrorists” or “my terrorists”. Seeing the attempt to divide terrorism again in different categories by adopting new terminologies under the guise of “emerging threats” such as racially and ethnically-motivated violent extremism, violent nationalism, right wing extremism, etc. will take us all back to the same era and erase the gains achieved globally over the last two decades.
- India, emphasizing on the collective efforts by the UN member states to check terrorrism said that International Community needs to adopt the policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism.
- The menace of terrorism in no way can be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group. Justifying terrorism in any way, whether on grounds of religion, ideology, ethnicity or race, will only provide the necessary fodder for terrorists to enhance their activities even more. The rise of hatred and violent terrorist attack is not just limited to three Abrahamic religions but includes other religions, inter alia, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism.
- The United Nations is not a body or the forum where member states should take sides on religious-phobias, but should instead truly foster a culture based on universal principles of humanity and compassion.
- India called out countries that are violating global commitments sheltering terrorists which are empowering such terrorist groups to extend their power and strength.
- The continued absence of a universally agreed definition of terrorism is detrimental to the shared goal of eliminating the global scourge.
- The GCTS fails to resolve the stalemate preventing the adoption of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, which India has championed.
What is Terrorism?
the term terrorism indicates a criminal and violent activity performed by an individual or group of individuals or an organisation in order to strike terror among the general public and send messages to the public and governments, to fulfil a goal.
India’s Initiative to Combat Terrorism
- Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2002 Act – POTA Act was passed in the Joint session of Parliament in March 2002 to strengthen anti-terrorism operations. The act was passed after the attack on Parliament by the Pakistan based terrorists POTA Act replaced the previous anti-terror law, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA).
- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act – The UAPA act gives special procedures to handle terrorist activities, among other things. UAPA has the death penalty and life imprisonment as the highest punishments. Both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged under the UAPA act. The act aims at the effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
At present, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is functioning as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India established under NIA Act 2008.
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