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G8 Declaration on Counter Terrorism

July 08, 2009

Now is the time for a new era of international cooperation that strengthens old partnerships and builds new ones to confront our common challenges and to defeat terrorism worldwide.

Terrorism continues to represent one of the greatest challenges to international peace, stability and security. We reiterate, in the strongest terms, our firm condemnation of this phenomenon in all its forms and manifestations. All acts of terrorism - by whomever committed - are criminal, inhumane and unjustifiable, regardless of motivation, especially when they indiscriminately target and injure civilians. In particular suicide bombings - and recruiting the young or disadvantaged to carry out such acts - as well as abductions and the taking of hostages are repugnant practices.

We remain convinced that terrorism can be effectively defeated only through multifaceted, collective and coordinated efforts - particularly in the fields of information-sharing and capacity-building - which shall include both short term provisions and long term policies. In this respect, a central role must be accorded to the United Nations, the organization uniquely suited to fostering a universal consensus on counter terrorism.

In constant cooperation with the competent UN bodies, the G8 plays a key role in the global fight against terrorism, primarily through the Roma/Lyon Group, which gathers our experts on counter terrorism and transnational organized crime, and the Counter-Terrorism Action Group (CTAG). We welcome CTAG's enhanced outreach initiatives and its increased emphasis on regional and local technical assistance and capacity building.

Consistent with the fundamental principles embodied in all relevant UN provisions, we reiterate our commitment to respecting human rights while countering terrorism.

We emphasize that special attention must also be paid to the victims of terrorist acts. Our countries are committed to further developing initiatives that assist survivors and families of the victims, and we welcome all efforts in this direction by other members of the international community.

The inherent strength of our societies lies in their openness and in the genuine respect for freedom, in which we believe and that we will always defend. Nonetheless, we should never allow terrorists to exploit our open and inclusive way of living for their murderous purposes. In this context, we shall strive to impede the mobility of terrorists, their access to financial resources and, last but not least, challenge the dissemination of their false messages and their appeal to violence.

An increase in radicalization leading to violence, especially among some vulnerable individuals in our communities, is a source of serious concern to us all. The main goal of terrorists is not only to spread fear and sow the seeds of instability, but also to undermine the basic values of our societies. Special attention must be paid to the abuses by terrorist organizations of both modern and more traditional means of public communication for propaganda and recruitment purposes. In particular, the internet is widely exploited by terrorists to disseminate their radical messages and to plan and facilitate violent acts. We must increase our understanding of the way in which terrorists use these methods of communication, and increase collaboration on countering such abuses.

Therefore, while we stress the fundamental importance of disrupting and prosecuting terrorists, we are convinced that in the long term the most effective response to their criminal strategy remains the promotion of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equitable social conditions. We are committed to continue promoting a culture of dialogue, inclusiveness, and full respect for diversity - particularly with younger generations - which represents the most effective response to counter those who incite hatred for their violent purposes. In this context, we call on the Roma/Lyon Group to continue addressing these complex issues, as well as fostering cooperation to improve the integration of immigrant communities into G8 societies.

Visible progress has been achieved in our joint fight to prevent terrorist travel, terrorism financing, terrorist abuse of non-profit organizations (NPOs), and other forms of material support, including weapons, mainly through the establishment of a comprehensive sanction regime by UNSC Resolutions 1267/1999, 1373/2001, other relevant resolutions, and through implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. We are committed to strengthen global implementation of sanctions and further reinforce our actions in working towards universal compliance with international standards in the area of counter terrorism financing, through the full implementation of the Forty Recommendations and Nine Special Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and via the FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs). Enhanced coordination, data exchange and upgrading of such information-sharing mechanisms would further global compliance as well. Special focus must also be placed on the phenomenon of cash smuggling, abuse of money transfer and other forms of moving terrorist funds. We welcome the important work completed on combating cash smuggling and the use of cash couriers to finance terrorism, specifically the joint G8 cash courier interdiction operation which resulted in over 70 seizures totaling approximately $3.5 million USD.

Although terrorism and organized crime respond to different logics, we remain deeply concerned about the connections between these two phenomena, as noted by the General Assembly when the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo, December 2000) was adopted. We commit ourselves to continue promoting targeted initiatives - by providing capacity building and other forms of technical assistance - to disrupt all possible links between these two phenomena, especially in those countries characterized by a weak institutional context that provides a fertile ground for other destabilizing challenges, such as trafficking in arms, humans and illegal narcotics: as has been highlighted by experts during the G8 Conference on Destabilizing Factors and Transnational Threats (Rome, 23-24 April 2009), these criminal activities can have a multiplier effect on terrorism.

Terrorists have diversified their strategies and offensive methods. Therefore, we will intensify our efforts in tackling the widest variety of threats, such as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism (CBRN), and attacks on critical infrastructure (including critical information infrastructure), sensitive sites, and transportation systems. We welcome the Roma/Lyon Group's efforts to identify and promote best practices for expanding biometric identity management practices for travelers and improving security in all modes of transportation. This will resound positively far beyond the G8 countries. Research and development in explosives detection and operational measures and technologies for the protection of the critical transportation infrastructure (such as video surveillance technologies) and agreement on best practices for conducting threat assessments of critical chemical infrastructure demonstrate G8 leadership in making the world safer and more secure for all. We call on our experts to continue their work to combat threats within all transportation modes, promote outreach campaigns that raise situational awareness, acceptance and compliance with transportation security requirements, and to enhance the role of the human resource factor in transportation security through the development of cooperation, training and certification processes. We recognize that globalization means our infrastructure is inter-independent and, as a result, we will promote dialogue and collaboration between specialists in the area of critical infrastructure protection.

All our actions against terrorism have been, and will always be, based on the fundamental principles set by the UN system. We reiterate our call for countries to join and fully implement all universal counter terrorism conventions and protocols. Moreover, we stress the importance of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and we welcome its review by the General Assembly in September 2008.

We reject the idea of a trade-off between security and the founding principles of our democracies. The respect for international law and the promotion of the rule of law are fundamental pillars in the fight against terrorism. All States must meet their obligations to implement the UN sanctions regimes, and should strive to do so in a way that promotes fairness and transparency.

In this context, we welcome the improvements brought to the UN sanction system by UNSC Resolutions 1730/2006 and 1822/2008. We believe that the G8 can play an important role in promoting and supporting efforts designed to enhance the transparency and the effectiveness of the UN sanction system. To this end, we urge our experts to study ways of more effectively implementing the new obligations under UNSC resolutions 1822/2008 and other 1267/1999 successor resolutions as an important step in bringing about greater fairness and effectiveness of targeted sanctions regimes.

Barack Obama, G8 Declaration on Counter Terrorism Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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