Speech at the Opening Sesssion of the High-Level Conference “International and Regional Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Its Financing Through Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime”
Excellency Under-Secretary General of the United Nations!
Distinguished Heads of Delegation!
I welcome you all and your delegations to sunny Tajikistan.
Currently, the entire world community has been facing global security challenges and threats, which urge all of us to explore new ways of counteraction to them.
Indeed, ensuring sustained peace and security is a key and an important criteria to ensuring constructive process of sustainable development at the international and regional levels.
Today, millions of people in various corners of the world have faced the threat of wars and conflicts and terrorism and extremism as manifestation of this destructive phenomena, led to unfortunate political, social and moral consequences.
Operation of terrorist organizations and other extremist groups at the global level obtained a transnational nature and cover almost every economy of the world.
Currently, international terrorist and extremist attacks have been weakening international security pillars, posing instability in various regions of the globe, and threatening ordinary civilians.
At present, international terrorist phenomena have been ever strengthening, which is a severe threat to the fortune of the globe. Therefore, these days joint and targeted countering of first and foremost causes and roots of terrorism phenomena by states and nations, international organizations and communities gain a particular importance. In this regard, strengthening capacity of countries and their special forces for preventing and countering to terrorism and extremism is a priority issue.
In addition to armed counteraction, it is also important to attach an utmost attention to addressing social and economic issues, which in some cases serve as the main cause of radicalization. In this context, it would be reasonable to establish effective cooperation and provide financial and technical support to countries fragile in counteraction to terrorism.
Having paid attention to our region, I have to note that acts of extremist and radical groups also pose a severe threat to Central Asian states. They masque their evil objectives with religious and creed based slogans and thereby recruit their followers under the flag of struggle for social justice. However, in fact their objective is to change the secular regime of governance in the countries of the region, and they avail all possible approaches and means to gain the political power. Tajikistan, which has experienced devastating consequences of terrorism and extremism in its new history, is very well familiar with such undercover objectives of them.
We have faced the wide phenomenon of imposed extremism and alien ideas and directions as well as violence and interference from abroad as early as at the early stages of our state independence. As a result of the imposed civil war 150,000 residents of our country were killed, approximately one million of them became homeless and regugees, 55,000 children got orphaned, under 30,000 residential buildings were burnt, and hundreds of entities and workshops were fully destroyed.The overall loss caused by the civil war amount to more than 10bn U.S. dollars.
Despite this huge loss, the Tajik Government, having built on the will and commitment of the people of Tajikistan to peace, made all possible efforts to ensure an extended national dialogue and establish national unity and stability in its society. As a result, we managed to overcome the threat of spread of terrorism and extremism in our country and start development and welfare activities.
In this context, I would like to highlight our proactive cooperation with United Nations and its agencies as well as other international partners towards the achievement of full peace. Their constant political support to Inter-Tajik dialogue was an important factor of our success in this pathway.
The painful experience of the civil war in Tajikistan and several other countries proves that it is important to undertake effective measures in all areas to prevent terrorism and extremism. Today’s reality requires all states to collectively fight against this destructive phenomenon. It is first and foremost important to refrain from the application of ‘double-standard policies’ with regard to positions towards terrorist and extremist groups and organizations.It is unadmissable to distinguish terrorists as insiders or outsiders, reformers and radicalists and good and bad ones.
The recent brutal terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka vividly proved that terrorists and extremists do not have motherland, nationality, neither have they religion and creed. They do not acknowledge any human value and nowadays no country of the world is safe from the risk of terrorist act. As people, funds and ideas cross the borders easily, terrorism and extremism will remain as a serious threat for all countries.
It is also concerning that terrorist and radical groups widely apply the achievements of information technologies in disseminating their extremism ideas, deceiving people and their recruitment into their teams and remotely prepare for and administer commitment of destructive acts. We continuously draw the attention of the world community to the need for eradicating the factors of political, military and financial support of international terrorism.
The Republic of Tajikistan undertakes comprehensive measures to prevent engagement of its citizens to terrorist and extremist groups. In accordance with the acting legislation, individuals, who voluntarily turn away from illegal participation in armed fightings or war operations in the territory of other states and return to their Motherland, and if there is no element of crime in their actions, are released from criminal liability. At the same time, we have been facilitating their integration into peaceful life. In this context, during the recent years, we returned more than 300 citizens of our country to their motherland, who had left for hotspots in Middle East to join the terrorist and extremist militant groups, particularly ISIS. Thus, in late April of this year, with efforts of the Government of Tajikistan and with the support of our partners we returned to Dushanbe 84 children and minors, who went with their parents to Iraq and were left there without any custody.
Activities to return other citizens of our country, who felt into the trap of radicalization by terrorist and radicalist groups and are in armed conflict zones, are ongoing.
I also would like to highlight that a certain number of members of international terrorist networks, including ISIS are deployed in Afghanistan for specific purposes. All of them participated in terrorist attacks in Syria and Iraq and gained a good operational record, and have plans to destabilize the region through new method and structural methods.
We undertake all possible measures in such circumstance to make sure the situation is stable in this regard.
For this purpose and given the importance of establishment of sustained peace and stability in Afghanistan for the entire region’s security, Tajikistan fully supports constructive efforts of the Government of this neighboring country and the world community in this area. Tajikistan as a friendly and brotherly country, will continue its efforts in this direction, including through facilitation of development of socio-economic dimensions in Afghanistan.
With regard to this, I would like to reiterate that the Afghan case cannot be resolved through military ways and approaches only, it is the challenge of not only Afghanistan or the region, rather it is a global case. We would like to call on all stakeholders to double their joint creative efforts to thoroughly promote finding peaceful solution to the Afghan case.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Expansion of the area of operation of terrorist groups is closely connected to the amount of financing and pecuniary support they receive, which creates a sufficient ground for them to counteract to law enforcement agencies of various countries and commit different criminal acts. Therefore, we express our ful support to the UN Security Council Resolution 2462 (2019) on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: preventing and combatting the financing of terrorism, adopted on 28 March of this year. In this regard, combatting the financing of terrorism is among the effective ways to counteract this phenomenon.
The Tajik legislation stipulates all types and forms of the financing of terrorism. It is obvious that these days different sources, including illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in person and smuggling of historical and cultural heritage are used for financing of terrorism.
The funds gained through illicit drug trafficking are one of the main sources of financial supply of terrorism. Tajikistan, having really understood the global threat of illicit drug trafficking, during many years has been making efforts to counteract to this dangerous phenomenon and gained a sufficient experience in this area.
Thanks to the efforts and initatives of the Government of Tajikistan and the support of the United Nations in 1999 we established Drugs Control Agency under the Office of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan as the designated authority in this sphere. This institution nowadays successfully operates and has an effective cooperation with international and regional organizations within relevant programs and projects.
We developed and adopted our National Strategy to Combat Illicit Drug Trafficking (to 2019) as early as in 2013. This paper plays a preventive role with its action framework and the areas it covers within bilateral, regional and multilateral relations. This strategy is aimed at eliminating causes of illicit drug trafficking in the society by taking into account the close connection between this phenomenon and terrorism.
During the last year alone 67 immediate reaction operations against smugglers. Over the last 20 years the Tajik law enforcement authorities seized more than 125 tons of narcotics in illicit trafficking.
It is worthwhile mentioning that the constant measures undertaken resulted in decline of illicit drug trafficking through Tajikistan over the recent year. Thus, during the last five years the number of our citizens, who are detained for illicit drug trafficking in other countries, decreased by more than two times and did so the amount of narcotics seized from them by six times respectively. These evidences show the effective operation of our relevant authorities and once again emphasizes the importance of strengthening state border as one of the effective ways of countering to terrorism and its financing sources.
Alongside this, it is crucial and timely to boost the process of exchange in information, experience and coordination between relevant authorities of countries and support the countries in the frontline of combat with illicit drug trafficking. In our opinion, the need for establishment of a special task force of the law enforcement agencies of “Northern Route” countries with the support of the UN and involvement of relevant experts to study the illicit drug trafficking in this route arose. We hope that our distinguished partners will positively take this initiative. In this regard, taking into the experience we gained in countering terrorism and its financing sources, we proposed to establish Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Antidrug Centre in Dushanbe in cooperation with our partners.
Distinguished Participants of the Conference!
The Republic of Tajikistan is always committed for cooperation with all stakeholders in terms of countering terrorism and its financing. It is not secret that in the current conditions, no country of the world would manage to succeed in countering with dangerous phenomena of terrorism, extremism and other threats of the current time-being in its own. With this regard, the issues of effective countering to transnational organized, illicit drug trafficking and firearms, cybercrimes as well as trafficking in person are always at the centre of our attention.
Effective cooperation in this area with the United Nations, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti-terrorism Structure, Commonwealth of Independent State Anti-terrorism Centre and individual states is in place. These cooperations made it possible to reveale hundreds of members of terrorist organizations and prevent several terrorist attacks. In our opinion, the UN and its relevant agencies need to play a key coordinating role in this process.
Also, the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy, its conventions on countering terrorism and narcotics, UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) should lay a sound ground for collective fight against terrorism and its financing.
Tajikistan, as a country, which experienced the tragic consequences of terrorism and extremism, during the recent years has been deploying effective measures in countering this phenomena and its financing sources. In this process, we adopted our national strategies on countering terrorism and extremism (2016-2020) and illicit drug trafficking (2013-2020) and we are about to complete their implementation.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We believe that effective countering to the current security threats can bring results only through joint and concerted efforts and implementation of coherent measures. Strengthening international and regional cooperation, and combined efforts within antiterrorism and antidrug aliences are among the measures that can seriously promote ensuring comprehensive peace and security.
We organized this conference as the logical continuation to the security symposium of the last year and the High-Level Conference of Heads of Counterterrorism Agencies of UN Member States, which took place in June 2018 in New York City with a view to making more efforts in this regard, and implementing the provisions of Dushanbe Declaration.
I believe that this forum will serve as an important platform of a comprehensive dialogue and exchange in the best practices and skills, center of attention and operation of all stakeholders operating with a common view for strengthening of peace and stability and sustainable development.
Countering security threats also requires solidarity of states and will never accept application of ‘double standards policy’, as such an approach would lead to expansion of security threats and challenges of unique forms and methods.
To this end, strengthening solidarity and coordination of special security forces and law enforcement agencies of our countries based on trust and greater involvement of civil society in this process would require a special and close attention. Accordingly, I would like to reiterate that Tajikistan was and will remain the partner of all stakeholders in effective countering to the global challenges and threats.
At the conclusion, I would like to once again welcome you to Tajikistan and wish you good luck in today’s deliberations and your professional activities.