Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Definition of terrorism

Tomorrow’s United Nations world summit has already failed in its most important endeavor:

…we should all be saddened by news that the negotiators in New York have dropped the inclusion of a clear definition of terrorism from their reform program.

The definition put forth by the High Level Panel is clear and straightforward. “Any action constitutes terrorism if it is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non combatants, with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.”

Failing to define terrorism will have very negative consequences:

First of all it provides common ground for international cooperation in combating terrorism. It lays the foundation for requesting and receiving the mutual assistance and support required under the various UN counter terrorism resolutions and the 12 international counter -terrorism conventions now in place. The absence of a terrorism definition seriously hinders any effort to coordinate an international response to terrorism. Without a common definition countries remain free to interpret their own obligations and define for themselves which groups are terrorists and which are “freedom fighters.” Saudi Arabia uses this distinction, for example, to get away with funding Hamas, while Iran and Syria use it to provide funds and support to Hezbollah.

I would suggest we use the vote, if a vote there will be, as the selection criterion to enlist the countries that support the proposed definition to the future Peace and Security Union.

Let's hope that some of these statesmen will speak up and force a vote on this issue. Let those who support defining terrorism for what it is stand up and be counted, and leave those opposed remain seated for history and posterity.

, , ,

No comments: