United Nations: In a thinly-veiled reference to Pakistan, India said that there are states that are ‘clearly guilty’ of aiding and supporting terrorism and willfully providing safe havens to terrorists, calling on the international community to collectively call out such countries and hold them accountable for their actions.
First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Rajesh Parihar made the comments on Thursday at the Joint special meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee on ‘Terrorist-financing threats’.
“Preventing terrorists from accessing financial resources is crucial to successfully countering the threat of terrorism. While some some states lack the legal operational frameworks and necessary Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) capabilities, there are other states that are clearly guilty of aiding and supporting terrorism and willfully providing financial assistance and safe havens to terrorists. While we must enhance capacities of the former, the international community must collectively call out the latter and hold them accountable for their deeds,” he said.
Parihar said India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism for over three decades. He cited reports that pointed to the laxity of some nations in South Asia in prosecuting leaders of UN-designated terror groups and where terror outfits continue to raise funds.
He said the Global Implementation Survey of resolution 1373, which was adopted early this month by the Counter-terrorism Committee, clearly mentioned that ‘the overall effectiveness of freezing regimes in South Asia has not improved materially’ and states of this sub-region remain non-compliant with the freezing requirement of resolution 1373, that calls on states to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts.
The survey had noted that ‘in few geographies, listed terrorist entities continue to raise funds to finance terrorism through frontal organisations, including the abuse of non-profit organisations’
Parihar said this survey should be seen in conjunction with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) latest report published in October 2021, which has ‘criticised the country in our region for its continued laxity towards terror financing investigations and prosecutions of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups,’ a reference to Pakistan.
“It is time the international community holds such countries accountable for their actions and demand fulfillment of their obligations towards implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions in this regard,” he said.
Underlining that the threat of terrorism is on the rise, Parihar said the UN Secretary General’s semi-annual report published in August this year highlighted the continuous expansion of ISIL and its affiliates in many parts of Africa and Afghanistan.
“Terrorists need money to carry out their operations and expansions. The continuous expansion of terrorist groups is a reality check for all of us that despite Security Council Resolution 2462 to curb the financing of terrorism, its implementation by member states remain challenging for several reasons, including for lack of political will,” he said.
Resolution 2462 reaffirms that all States shall prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts and refrain from providing support to those involved in them. It also urges all States to participate actively in implementing and updating the ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions list and to consider including, when submitting new listing requests, individuals and entities involved in the financing of terrorism.
Parihar noted that recent trends show that in addition to continuing use of traditional ways of terror financing, terrorist groups have found new ways to finance their activities, including through new financial and payment technologies, with terrorists taking advantage of the anonymity offered by such methods.
“On top of it, the proliferation of fake charities and nonprofit organisations during COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this risk,” he said.
He said India has performed National Risk Assessment in 2019 and 2020 and has made tremendous progress in implementing the recommendation of FATF, commensurate with the money laundering and terror financing risk and is ‘gearing up for its upcoming evaluation of FATF.’
India is also in process of upgrading its financial intelligence network FINnet by introducing machine learning or artificial intelligence, chatbots and virtual assistants for effective coordination among law enforcement agencies to counter terror financing.
“What we need today is an effective collaborative and multilateral approach to counter financing of terrorism built on public private partnership to identify and mitigate new terror financing risk, strengthening support to watchdogs such as FATF to ensure that member states bring their counter financing structures at par with international standards,” he said.