Gobal approach to counter-terrorism

[vc_section][vc_row][vc_column width=\”1/2\”][vc_column_text]Security Council – Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC)


The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established by Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), which was adopted unanimously on 28 September 2001 in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States.

The Committee, comprising all 15 Security Council members, was tasked with monitoring implementation of resolution 1373 (2001), which requested countries to implement a number of measures intended to enhance their legal and institutional ability to counter terrorist activities at home, in their regions and around the world, including taking steps to:

  • Criminalize the financing of terrorism
  • Freeze without delay any funds related to persons involved in acts of terrorism
  • Deny all forms of financial support for terrorist groups
  • Suppress the provision of safe haven, sustenance or support for terrorists
  • Share information with other governments on any groups practicing or planning terrorist acts
  • Cooperate with other governments in the investigation, detection, arrest, extradition and prosecution of those involved in such acts; and
  • Criminalize active and passive assistance for terrorism in domestic law and bring violators to justice.

The resolution also calls on States to become parties, as soon as possible, to the relevant international counter-terrorism legal instruments.

In September 2005, the Security Council adopted resolution 1624 (2005) on incitement to commit acts of terrorism, calling on UN Member States to prohibit it by law, prevent such conduct and deny safe haven to anyone “with respect to whom there is credible and relevant information giving serious reasons for considering that they have been guilty of such conduct.” The resolution also called on States to continue international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations.

The Security Council directed the CTC to include resolution 1624 (2005) in its ongoing dialogue with countries on their efforts to counter-terrorism.

In August 2022, H.E. Ms. Ruchira Kamboj, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, was appointed Chair of the CTC. Her bio can be found here. For a complete list of current Chairs and Vice-Chairs of subsidiary bodies of the Security Council, please consult document  S/2022/2.

The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED)


Under resolution 1535 (2004), the Security Council established the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) to assist the work of the CTC and coordinate the process of monitoring the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001).

CTED became fully staffed in September 2005 and was formally declared operational in December 2005. CTED’s mandate was extended until the end of 2025 by Security Council resolution S/RES/2617 (2021).

CTED comprises some 40 staff members, about half of whom are legal experts who analyze the reports submitted by States in areas such as legislative drafting, the financing of terrorism, border and customs controls, police and law enforcement, refugee and migration law, arms trafficking and maritime and transportation security. CTED also has a senior human rights officer.

CTED is divided into two sections: an Assessment and Technical Assistance Office (ATAO), which is further divided into three geographical clusters to enable the experts to specialize in particular regions of the world, and an Administrative and Information Office (AIO).

In addition, five technical groups work horizontally across ATAO to identify issues and criteria for making assessments in their particular area of technical expertise and then disseminate these across the three clusters. The groups deal respectively with technical assistance; terrorist financing; border control, arms trafficking and law enforcement; general legal issues, including legislation, extradition and mutual legal assistance; and finally, issues raised by resolution 1624 (2005); as well as the human rights aspects of counter-terrorism in the context of resolution 1373 (2001).

Across AIO, there is also a quality control unit to improve the technical quality and consistency in language and format of CTED documents and a public communications and outreach unit to strengthen its outreach activities.

In support of the Committee’s work on resolution 1624 (2005), CTED has prepared reports (S/2006/737, S/2008/2, S/2016/50, S/2021/973PDF) summarizing the responses submitted thus far by about half of the United Nations membership.

UNSC 1267 Committee


It was first set up in 1999 (updated in 2011 and 2015), and strengthened after the September, 2001 attacks. It is now known as the Da’esh and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee. It comprises all permanent and non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The 1267 list of terrorists is a global list, with a UNSC stamp. It is full of Pakistani nationals and residents. It is one of the most important and active UN subsidiary bodies working on efforts to combat terrorism, particularly in relation to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group. It discusses UN efforts to limit the movement of terrorists, especially those related to travel bans, the freezing of assets and arms embargoes for terrorism.

What is the Procedure of Listing?

Any member state can submit a proposal for listing an individual, group, or entity. The proposal must include acts or activities indicating the proposed individual/group/entity had participated “in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” linked to “ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof”.

Decisions on listing and de-listing are adopted by consensus. The proposal is sent to all the members, and if no member objects within five working days, the proposal is adopted. An “objection” means curtains for the proposal.

Any member of the Committee may also put a “technical hold” on the proposal and ask for more information from the proposing member state. During this time, other members may also place their own holds. The matter remains on the “pending” list of the Committee until such time as the member state that has placed the hold decides to turn its decision into an “objection”, or until all those who have placed holds remove them within a timeframe laid down by the Committee. Pending issues must be resolved in six months, but the member state that has placed the hold may ask for an additional three months. At the end of this period, if an objection is not placed, the matter is considered approved.

United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT)


The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) was established on 15 June 2017 through the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 71/291. Mr. Vladimir Voronkov was appointed as its first Under-Secretary-General.

The creation of the Office is considered as the first major institutional reform undertaken by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres following his report (A/71/858) on the Capability of the United Nations to Assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

As suggested by Secretary-General in his report (A/71/858) on the Capability of the United Nations to Assist Member States in implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact (former CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) were moved out of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs into the new Office of Counter-Terrorism.

The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288) and its biennial General Assembly Review resolutions provide the substance of UNOCT’s mandate.

UNOCT’s five main functions

The Office of Counter-Terrorism has five main functions:

  1. Provide leadership on the General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to the Secretary-General from across the United Nations system
  2. Enhance coordination and coherence across the Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact entities to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy
  3. Strengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States
  4. Improve visibility, advocacy, and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts
  5. Ensure that due priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system and that the important work on preventing violent extremism is firmly rooted in the Strategy

The UN General Assembly establishes the priorities of UNOCT through the resolutions of the biennial Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Office works closely with UN Member States, UN entities, civil society, international and regional organizations, academia, and other stakeholders strengthening existing and developing new partnerships to effectively prevent and counter-terrorism.

UNOCT is headed by Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov. Upon creation of the Office, the Secretary-General appointed Mr. Voronkov to provide strategic leadership to United Nations counter-terrorism efforts, participate in the decision-making process of the United Nations and ensure that the cross-cutting origins and impact of terrorism are reflected in the work of the United Nations.

Leadership, coordination, and capacity-building

On 23 February 2018, the Secretary-General signed the new UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, which replaced the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force coordination arrangement. The Compact aims to strengthen a common action approach to coordination and coherence in the counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism (CPVE) work of the United Nations system, and to strengthen support to Member States, at their request, in the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and other relevant United Nations resolutions and mandates.

Established since 2011, the UN Counter Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), is the main capacity-building arm of UNOCT providing capacity-building assistance to Member States through counter-terrorism projects and programmes around the world in line with the four pillars of the Global Strategy.

Collaboration with the Security Council

UNOCT works in close collaboration with the Security Council subsidiary bodies mandated to enhance the capacity of Member States to prevent and respond to terrorist acts which include the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, as well as the 1540 Committee on the non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The Committees are supported in their work by different entities; whereas the Counter-Terrorism Committee has its Executive Directorate (CTED) to carry out its policy decisions and conduct expert assessments of Member States, the 1267 Committee draws on a Monitoring Team

UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy


The UN General Assembly adopted by consensus the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on 8 September 2006. The strategy is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism. The General Assembly reviews the Strategy every two years, making it a living document attuned to Member States’ counter-terrorism priorities.

Countering terrorism and The Compact

By providing Secretariat support, UNOCT works together with the members of United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact to prevent and counter terrorism and the underlying spread of violent extremism. Learn more about the Compact and how its work spans across the three pillars of work of the United Nations.

UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy


The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288) is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism. Through its adoption by consensus in 2006, all UN Member States agreed the first time to a common strategic and operational approach to fighting terrorism.

The Strategy does not only send a clear message that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms and manifestations but 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 of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the form of a resolution and an annexed Plan of Action (A/RES/60/288) is composed of 4 pillars, namely:

  1. Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism
  2. Measures to prevent and combat terrorism
  3. Measures to build states’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard
  4. Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism

Various Definitions of Terrorism


Controversy in Defining Terrorism

The difficulty in defining “terrorism” is in agreeing on a basis for determining when the use of violence (directed at whom, by whom, for what ends) is legitimate; therefore, the modern definition of terrorism is inherently controversial. The use of violence for the achievement of political ends is common to state and non-state groups . The majority of definitions in use has been written by agencies directly associated with government, and is systematically biased to exclude governments from the definition. The contemporary label of \”terrorist\” is highly pejorative– it denotes a lack of legitimacy and morality. As a practical matter, so-called acts of “terrorism” or terrorism are often a tactic committed by the actors as part of a larger military or geo-political agenda.

United Nations

The UN General Assembly Resolution 49/60 (adopted on December 9, 1994), titled \”Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism,\” contains a provision describing terrorism:

Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.

The UN Member States still have no agreed-upon definition of terrorism, and this fact has been a major obstacle to meaningful international countermeasures. Terminology consensus would be necessary for a single comprehensive convention on terrorism, which some countries favor in place of the present 12 piecemeal conventions and protocols. Cynics have often commented that one state\’s \”terrorist\” is another state\’s \”freedom fighter\”.

The Arab Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism was adopted by the Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior and the Council of Arab Ministers of Justice in Cairo, Egypt in 1998. Terrorism was defined in the convention as:

Any act or threat of violence, whatever its motives or purposes, that occurs in the advancement of an individual or collective criminal agenda and seeking to sow panic among people, causing fear by harming them, or placing their lives, liberty or security in danger, or seeking to cause damage to the environment or to public or private installations or property or to occupying or seizing them, or seeking to jeopardize national resources.

UN Security Council Resolution 1566 (2004) gives a definition:

criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.

A UN panel, on March 17, 2005, described terrorism as

any act \”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.”

European Union

The European Union defines terrorism for legal/official purposes in Art.1 of the Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism (2002). This provides that terrorist offenses are certain criminal offenses set out in a list comprised largely of serious offenses against persons and property which:

given their nature or context, may seriously damage a country or an international organization where committed with the aim of: seriously intimidating a population; or unduly compelling a Government or international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act; or seriously destabilizing or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organization.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act 2000 defines terrorism to include

 an act “designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system”. An act of violence is not even necessary under this definition.

United States

The United States has defined terrorism under the Federal Criminal Code. Title 18 of the United States Code defines terrorism and lists the crimes associated with terrorism. In Section 2331 of Chapter 113(B), defines terrorism as: “…activities that involve violent… or life-threatening acts… that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State and… appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and…(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States…”

US Patriot Act of 2001: terrorist activities include

threatening, conspiring or attempting to hijack airplanes, boats, buses or other vehicles.

threatening, conspiring or attempting to commit acts of violence on any \”protected\” persons, such as government officials

any crime committed with \”the use of any weapon or dangerous device,\” when the intent of the crime is determined to be the endangerment of public safety or substantial property damage rather than for \”mere personal monetary gain

FBI definition of terrorism:

The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

The U.S. Army Manual definition of terrorism is the

 \”the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear. It is intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies … [to attain] political, religious, or ideological goals.\” U.S. Army Field Manual No. FM 3-0, Chapter 9, 37 (14 June 2001).

Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms defines terrorism as:

The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.

State Terrorism

State terrorism has been defined as acts of terrorism conducted by governments or terrorism carried out directly by, or encouraged and funded by, an established government of a state (country) or terrorism practiced by a government against its own people or in support of international terrorism. “State terrorism” is as controversial a concept as that of terrorism itself. Terrorism is often, though not always, defined in terms of four characteristics: (1) the threat or use of violence; (2) a political objective; the desire to change the status quo; (3) the intention to spread fear by committing spectacular public acts; (4) the intentional targeting of civilians. This last element–targeting innocent civilians—is problematic when one tries to distinguish state terrorism from other forms of state violence.

Democratic regimes may foster state terrorism of populations outside their borders or perceived as alien; but they do not terrorize their own populations because a regime that is truly based on the violent suppression of most citizens (not simply some) would cease to be democratic. Dictatorships terrorize their own populations; democracies do not; but they can engage in state sponsored terrorism in other countries.

Declaring war and sending the military to fight other militaries is not terrorism, nor is the use of violence to punish criminals who have been convicted of violent crimes, but many would argue that democracies are also capable of terrorism. Israel has for many years been characterized by critics, especially in the Arab world, United Nations Resolutions, and human rights organizations, as perpetrating terrorism against the population of the territories it has occupied since 1967.

Critics also accuse the United States of terrorism for backing not only the Israeli occupation, but other repressive regimes willing to terrorize their own citizens to maintain power. Palestinian militants call Israel terrorist, Kurdish militants call Turkey terrorist, Tamil militants call Indonesia terrorist; and, of course, the nation-states call the militants who oppose their regimes “terrorists”. Like “beauty”, “terrorism” is in the eye of the beholder. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. Hence, the difficulty in defining TERRORISM.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=\”1/2\” is_sticky=\”yes\” sticky_min_width=\”767\” sticky_top=\”130\” sticky_bottom=\”0\”][vc_custom_heading text=\”GLOBAL APPROACH TO COUNTER TERRORISM | THE COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE (CTC) | TIMETEA | SHIELD IAS\” font_container=\”tag:h2|font_size:24PX|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff|line_height:34PX\” use_theme_fonts=\”yes\” css=\”.vc_custom_1671089656653{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #434a9b !important;}\”][vc_video link=\”https://youtu.be/V1KRjQcvrOA\” css=\”.vc_custom_1671089649769{margin-top: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}\”][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section]

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