The UN Security Council (UNSC) has demanded that all countries should take stringent action to combat the financing of terrorist organisations and to prosecute those funding terrorism…writes Arul Louis
A resolution passed unanimously on Thursday said that every nation should have laws to prosecute serious criminal offences, the collection of funds or the provision of resources and services to terrorist organisations or individual militants and enforce them.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, whose country holds the Council presidency for the month, introduced the resolution at the session on terrorism funding. He said that to fight terrorism, the international community must tackle evil at its root by cutting off the sources of financing.
Terrorists have learned to adopt new technologies for their use posing a great challenge, he said. But he added, “our determination must be equally great”.
For this, he said, the UN’s Office of Counter-Terrorism (CTED) must develop its capacity to combat terrorist financing and work with other organisations.
India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin criticised the lax implementation of the Council resolutions and UN measures against terrorism financing. He said that no effective actions have been taken against those not complying with sanctions.
An expert on countering money-laundering and terrorism financing, Mercy Buku, said that the proliferation of mobile phone-based money transfer services and digital payment systems were vulnerable to exploitation by criminals because of the speed and convenience.
Governments should enact and enforce regulations to ensure that new technologies are not used to finance terrorism, she said via video-teleconference from Nairobi.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) President Marshall Billingslea told the Council that the risks of terrorism financing extend beyond the banking and financial sectors and governments should look for all the ways they may become vulnerable to terrorism financing.
Billingslea, who is also a US assistant treasury secretary, drew attention to factors like corruption, weak governance, and regional instability that create environments conducive to terrorist financing.
FATF, which monitors and takes action against money laundering and terrorist financing, has put Pakistan on a “grey list” of countries that fail to adequately act against financing terrorists.
A delegation from the FATF’s Asia Pacific Group was in that country this week for meetings with officials and institutions. According to the Pakistan-based Geo TV, the delegation said that the country had not taken adequate action against eight major proscribed organisations.
At the Council, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi pleaded that it was difficult to implement the Task Force recommendations because her country’s economy was largely cash-based. She asserted that action was being taken to ensure that non-profit organisations did not divert funds to terrorist group.
Regardless of the context, she could not resist taking a pot shot at India, saying that “foreign occupation” of Jammu and Kashmir is “state terrorism”.