Speech by Minister Tuomioja at the UN Secretary-General’s Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation
Promoting human rights and the rule of law while countering terrorism
H.E. Mr Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland
New York, 19th of September 2011
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,
Finland wishes to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for convening this important meeting. The importance of this meeting is especially highlighted as we also commemorate this year the 10th anniversary of the hideous terrorist attacks that took place here in New York.
We want to commemorate the victims of 9/11 and all the victims of terrorist attacks around the world. We stress the need to promote and protect the rights of victims of terrorism and note that discussions on terrorism have often paid too little attention to this issue.
Finland is actively participating in the development of international normative framework on counter-terrorism. We have consistently reminded that all measures against international terrorism must comply with international law, including human rights law, humanitarian law and refugee law.
The commitment to respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in countering terrorism must be unwavering. We are committed to enhancing the development and strengthening of these universal norms together with other Member States of the European Union, as well as in our bilateral relations and in our participation in the work of international organizations.
While measures to counter terrorism must be consistent with international law, we should also pay attention to the importance of comprehensive security. This requires strong commitment to the rule of law and to the promotion and protection of human rights of everyone.
It is stated in the program of our present Government that we will focus on countering discrimination in order to promote tolerance, security and multiculturalism in Finland. We believe that the active promotion of human rights, equality and democracy, as well as the acceptance of multiculturalism are at the core of our common objective of preventing radicalization and hence the spreading of terrorism. In countering the appeal of terrorism, it is crucial to combat the social exclusion of groups and individuals by ensuring that they have equal opportunities to participate in society.
It is also stated in our national counter-terrorism strategy that the actions of authorities must be consistent and appropriately transparent in the field of counter-terrorism. Respect for the core values and principles must be ensured.
We recognize the key role of the United Nations in international counter-terrorism cooperation. However, due to the global nature of terrorism, the capability to effectively fight terrorism requires continuous and consistent cooperation not only between different authorities but also between authorities and a wide range of other actors.
Finland strongly supports widest possible ratification of the universal conventions and protocols of the United Nations against terrorism, including the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We also wish to commend the work of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) for its valuable input in supporting Member States´ efforts in implementing the Strategy. We also wish to acknowledge the substantial contribution of Mr. Martin Scheinin, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.
We must not let terrorism undermine our way of life. We must continue to stick to the internationally approved standards and embrace our common values; respect for human rights and the rule of law, democracy, equality, social inclusion, multiculturalism towards a safer society.