UN General Assembly adopts resolution condemning attacks on sacred sites

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 2 (APP):The United Nations General Assembly Friday adopted a resolution condemning all forms of terrorism directed against religious sites – as well as any advocacy of religious hatred – that constituted an incitement to violence.
The 193-member Assembly strongly condemned all acts of violence and destruction directed against religious sites, acting without a vote to adopt the draft resolution “Effects of terrorist acts directed against religious sites on the culture of peace”.
It also condemned any advocacy of religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and urged member states to take measures to combat hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, including those motivated by religious extremism.
The representative of Egypt, introducing the resolution, recalled that a 24th November terrorist attack in Cairo had claimed more than 300 lives, constituting the deadliest and most brutal attack in his country’s modern history.
“We are all the more convinced to send out a united message to categorically rebuke and reject terrorist attacks,” he
stressed, adding that it was critical to undertake measures to protect religious sites and promote peaceful coexistence
Delegates shared their condolences for the people and delegation of Egypt and condemned the recent terrorist attack there
in the strongest terms.
Ghana’s delegate said the resolution sent a strong message and renewed the United Nations commitment to combat heinous terrorist acts.
Speaking in explanation of position on behalf of the African Group, the delegate underscored the need to advance mutual respect and tolerance, including among ethnic and religious minorities. The effects of terror on the culture of peace must be
carefully evaluated and addressed.
While the text had been adopted by consensus, representatives of several delegations expressed concern at its
“fast-‘tracked negotiation process. Some said more consultations could have led to broader agreement on its content, and
others raised alarm over the resolution’s inclusion of “unbalanced” and “non-agreed” language and its exclusion of any human
rights protection references.
Among speakers expressing concern over the text’s exclusion of references to human rights frameworks were the representatives of Norway and the United States, with the latter voicing disappointment that the resolution had been adopted
without consultations that could have helped address several important issues.
Indeed, states’ counter-terrorism efforts must always be conducted in line with their international obligations, including
those related to the protection of human rights, and the text’s inclusion of unbalanced and non-agreed language meant that the
United States could not consider it – or the negotiations leading to it – as a precedent for future agreements.
The representative of Iran, condemning callous attempts by terrorists to demonstrate their existence following myriad
defeats in the Middle East, called for collective efforts to combat them.
Syria’s representative said ISIL/Da’esh and Nusrah Front – supported by parties that were well known to all – had launched attacks in his country and beyond in an effort to impose their own ideologies. Despite a recent escalation in the frequency of attacks, there remained a lack of political will to combat terrorism.
“The international community has not yet been up to par” in that respect, the Syrian representative said, warning
against double standards and the politicization of counter-terrorism efforts, as well as interference in nations’ internal affairs and
their sovereignty.