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National statements

Chair's Briefing on the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee

Thematic issues

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Mali
  • Peace and Security
  • Sahel
  • Sanctions
  • Somalia
  • Terrorism
  • Yemen

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

I. Introduction

The threat posed by Al-Qaida to international peace and security remains a
pressing dimension of a number of issues on the Council's agenda, not only in
its deliberations on international terrorism, but across country situations,
including Somalia, Mali and Yemen.

Since the Committee's last report in November 2012, Al-Qaida affiliates in the Maghreb have waged a vicious insurgency in Mali, threatening the viability of that State and security in the region; Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula continued to be a strong factor affecting the on-going security situation in Yemen; and Al Shabaab remained an ongoing threat to the security environment in Somalia.

In today's briefing I will focus on the principal areas of work of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee since the adoption of Security Council resolution 2083 (2012) in December last year:

  1. Effectively addressing the evolving threat to international peace and security
    posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates, with a particular focus on the work
    of the Committee to address recent challenges posed Mali and the Sahel region
    by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (QE.T.14.01.), the Mouvement pour l'Unification
    et le Jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (MUJAO) (QE.M.134.12.) and the Ansar Eddine;
    (QE.A.135.13.)
  2. Ensuring the regime's application remains relevant and effective; and,
  3. Ensuring the sanctions regime has clear and effective procedures.

II. Effectively addressing the evolving threat to international peace
and security posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates

Since the last briefing by my predecessor in November 2012, the threat to international peace and security from Al-Qaida has continued to evolve as Al-Qaida affiliates have exploited local grievances to further Al-Qaida's global agenda. In accordance with its mandate under resolution 2083, the Committee has been working to ensure the regime remains relevant and effective in response to this evolving threat. In particular, since its last report to the Council, the Committee has sought to improve the application of 1267 sanctions to address the threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates in Mali and the Sahel.

In resolutions 2100 (2013) and 2085 (2012) the Council reiterated its readiness to sanction further individuals, groups, undertakings and entities who do not cut off all ties to Al Qaida and associated groups. In response, the Committee has applied the sanctions to the Mouvement pour l'Unification et le Jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (MUJAO) (QE.M.134.12.), and Ansar Eddine (QE.A.135.13.), entities closely linked to the Organisation of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (QE.T.14.01.), as well as to the leaders of, and other individuals associated with, these groups. The Committee's efforts to ensure that the Al-Qaida Sanctions List reflects the nature of the threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates in Mali and the Sahel is part of a sustained drive by the Committee to make full use of the tools available in the context of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Regime to counter the evolving threat.

To this end, as directed by the Council in paragraph 62 of resolution 2083, the Committee held a special meeting on 9 April 2013 to consider ways in which the 1267 regime could improve its response to the latest developments of Al-Qaida in the Sahel and Mali, including outreach and technical support activities to the region on the implementation and application of the sanctions measures. The meeting brought together the Monitoring Team, the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, and other relevant departments and offices of the United Nations. It highlighted the need for continued monitoring of the role of these groups in Mali and the Sahel, with a more central role for capacity-building efforts in the counter-terrorism realm.

In this regard, the Committee and the Monitoring Team look forward to constructive engagement and cooperation with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as requested by the Council in paragraph 31 of resolution 2100 (2013).

III. Ensuring the regime's application remains relevant and effective

The Committee is making every effort to ensure that the sanctions framework is as effective a tool as possible in preventing Al-Qaida and its affiliates from threatening international peace and security. Part of this effort requires the Al-Qaida Sanctions List to be as updated and accurate as possible, to facilitate the implementation of the sanctions measures.

The Committee assigns great importance to ensuring that individuals confirmed to be deceased are removed from the Al-Qaida Sanctions List, all the while ensuring that any assets forming part of the deceased's estate, if unfrozen, are not used in connection with activities threatening international peace and security. In that regard, the Committee de-listed Usama Bin Laden on 21 February 2013. In accordance with paragraph 32 of resolution 2083 (2012), the Committee will ensure that assets frozen as a result of Usama Bin Laden's listing will not be transferred to listed individuals or entities, or otherwise used for terrorist purposes in line with resolution 1373 (2001).

The Committee is pleased to inform the Security Council that it has begun to implement the special agreement it concluded with INTERPOL that facilitates the exchange of information between the Committee and INTERPOL and streamlines the maintenance of joint United Nations-INTERPOL Special Notices. This can be expected to improve the quality of information on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List and enhance the implementation of the sanctions measures via INTERPOL's special notice distribution system.

The Committee has also continued its periodic review of the Al-Qaida Sanctions list, focusing particular attention on entries that lack identifiers necessary to ensure effective implementation of the sanctions measures, entries of entities that are reported or confirmed to have ceased to exist, and entries that have not been reviewed in three or more years. The responsiveness of Member States remains crucial for the successful implementation of these reviews.

IV. Ensuring the sanctions regime has clear and effective procedures

Through the adoption of resolution 2083 (2012), the Security Council has further enhanced the fairness of the Al-Qaida sanctions framework through the introduction of provisions giving individuals and entities on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List the possibility to submit requests for exemptions to the assets freeze and travel ban measures, through the Focal Point mechanism established in resolution 1730 (2006), for the consideration of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee (paragraph 37). The Council has also authorised the Ombudsperson to request that the Committee consider exemptions to the travel ban for the purpose of allowing petitioners to travel to another State to be interviewed by the Ombudsperson (paragraph 36). The Committee has implemented these changes into the Guidelines for the conduct of its work, setting forth clear procedures to be followed by listed individuals and entities wishing to avail themselves of these new provisions.

Furthermore, the Committee has implemented the provisions of paragraph 12 of resolution 2083 (2012), which reverse the assumption that a State proposing an individual or entity for listing wishes to have its status as a designating State kept confidential, by dispatching letters to all designating States on file to solicit their views as to whether the Committee or Ombudsperson may make their status as a designating State known.

The Office of the Ombudsperson continues to fulfil a key role in supporting the Committee's efforts to ensure that the application of Al-Qaida Sanctions continues to reflect the current threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates, and since the last briefing to the Council the Committee de-listed five individuals and retained two listings on the basis of reports submitted by the Ombudsperson. In addition, as of 9 May 2013, three Comprehensive Reports of the Ombudsperson were under consideration by the Committee, and the Ombudsperson had 1 case in the dialogue phase and 11 cases in the information gathering phase.

Since the last briefing to the Security Council, the Committee has also provided reasons to petitioners, both in cases where the Committee has acceded to or rejected de-listing requests, through the Ombudsperson. The provision of reasoned decisions to the Ombudsperson, for onward transmittal to the petitioner, is a significant indicator that fair and clear procedures exist within the Al-Qaida sanctions framework. The Committee will continue to pay heed to due process principles to ensure that the listing and de-listing process is imbued with fairness and transparency.

V. Concluding observations

The events of the last few months in Mali and the Sahel region have illustrated the continued threat to international peace and security posed by Al-Qaida and affiliated groups. The Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee's efforts to comprehensively address this issue included, for the first time, a special meeting held pursuant to paragraph 62 of resolution 2083 (2012). This is a valuable forum which the Committee will use, as appropriate, in other relevant contexts.

We should not forget, however, that the Al-Qaida sanctions regime can only be as effective as the sum of its parts, and a key element of this framework is the application of the measures. The Committee endeavours to keep this list as updated and accurate as possible through specialised reviews, and the success of these depends to a large part on Member State engagement. Therefore, I call on all Member States to continue their positive engagement with the Committee.

(Check against delivery)

Last Updated: 4 June 2015
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