Response to 1st Committee Chair Ambassador Luis Cuesta Civis
As delivered by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Macris
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
May 2, 2019
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ambassador Cuesta, thank you for your presentation of the draft program of the Security Committee and for Spain’s continued commitment to the work of the Committee.
The work of the Security Committee – and the OSCE’s efforts to combat terrorism and illicit trafficking while enhancing border security – are important parts of our efforts to eradicate the scourge of terrorism, which continues to plague us all. Despite our vigilance, terrorism remains a real threat to the security of all OSCE participating States and our region as a whole.
During the Spanish Chairmanship, you have challenged States to think deeply about our approaches to preventing and countering terrorism, including how we respond to deadly terror attacks, and we encourage you to continue this approach.
As we review strategies to combat the growth and proliferation of terrorist threats, the Security Committee offers a useful forum whereby we exchange ideas on countering terrorism in full accordance with obligations under international law to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression.
The United States welcomes the committee’s focus on border security. As the OSCE region grapples with the dilemma of returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters, it is clear that participating States need to do more to prevent the movement of terrorists and monitor the travel of suspected terrorists. By hardening borders, sharing information, and developing and implementing effective biometric watch lists and databases of known and suspected terrorists – in compliance with domestic and international law – we enhance our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks and to protect our citizens.
The emerging technologies associated with Advanced Passenger Information (API) provide additional opportunities to identify individuals of concern. And by working closely with airlines, participating States can ensure that Passenger Name Record (PNR) data is shared with relevant national authorities, allowing us to track and monitor suspected terrorists.
The United States appreciates your attention to gender mainstreaming in law enforcement and criminal justice sectors – a key component of a balanced approach to Security Sector Governance and Reform. There is a clear benefit to having greater numbers of and wider opportunities for women in security and law enforcement.
Data and subsequent analysis have demonstrated that societies that fully respect and uphold women’s rights are less likely to experience conflict and atrocities. Peace processes that include women are more likely to result in lasting, sustained peace. This is a point former Irish PM Bertie Ahern made in noting the critical input women had in the historical negotiations on the Good Friday Agreement. By empowering women and girls, we can create more peaceful, equitable, stable, and secure societies.
We welcome your efforts to better incorporate the OSCE’s Partners for Cooperation. Our Mediterranean and Asian Partners bring valuable insights based on their own national experiences to our discussions.
We also welcome your approach of increasing engagement with the participating States’ delegations to identify a wider range of experts for panel discussions. The United States will continue to work with the Chairmanship to identify experts for the Security Committee and other panels whenever possible.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.