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National statements

UN Sanctions Committees

Thematic issues

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Justice
  • Kenya
  • Mali
  • Peace and Security
  • Rule of Law
  • Sanctions
  • Somalia
  • Terrorism



Statement by Mr Damian White, Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations

Thank you, Mr President, for the opportunity to address the Council today. I would like to thank the Chairs of the three committees, Ambassadors Wittig, Puri and Sangqu, for their valuable and informative briefings, and for their leadership of the key subsidiary bodies of the Security Council.

Unfortunately, as we know and have been hearing today, terrorism remains a key threat to international peace and security. Comprehensive and coordinated action remains essential if we are to address this threat.

To this end, Australia is strongly committed to promoting the universal and effective implementation of Resolutions 1373 and 1540. We have conducted numerous outreach and capacity-building activities focused on assisting countries to develop and strengthen their legal frameworks and technical capabilities. In the past two years, Australia has provided counter-terrorism financing capacity-building and technical assistance to over 30 countries in the Pacific, South East Asia, South Asia and Africa. This is an area where Australia has particular expertise, and which we are committed to sharing with others.

In relation to Resolution 1373, in June the International Organisation for Migration will hold a border security workshop in Nigeria, which Australia is sponsoring. We are also supporting a new UNODC program of work on counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering in Kenya and Somalia. This builds on a workshop Australia delivered for East African Community countries last month on counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering.

We were also pleased to have the Chair of the 1540 Committee, Ambassador Sangqu, speak at the 4th ASEAN Regional Forum Intersessional Meeting on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament in Sydney in March. This meeting was an important opportunity to raise awareness of the work of the 1540 Committee and to share best practices to strengthen Resolution 1540 in the Asia-Pacific region, and we would like to acknowledge Ambassador Sangqu's important contribution.

Australia's commitment to promote the implementation of these resolutions and to assisting countries to build and develop their technical capacities both in our region and beyond will continue. More broadly on the UN's counter-terrorism agenda, Australia looks forward to a constructive review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in June, in which we will engage actively. We welcome the suggestion for the establishment of a new counter-terrorism coordinator position and see great benefit in increased cooperation among UN entities to ensure coordination and coherence in counter-terrorism efforts across the UN system.

Mr President

I now wish to make some comments on the 1267 al-Qaida sanctions regime. Australia believes in the importance of the United Nations setting an example of the principles it seeks to promote. As the Secretary-General has noted recently in his latest report entitled Delivering Justice, the application of basic rule of law principles is crucial to the legitimacy of actions taken by the principal organs of the UN, including the Security Council. This is a key part of strengthening the rule of law at the international level.

We strongly support efforts to improve the fairness, transparency and effectiveness of UN sanctions system procedures. To ensure that only the appropriate people and entities remain listed, it is crucial for individuals and entities to understand the reasons for their listing, and be afforded the opportunity to provide information so de-listing can occur when appropriate. It is also important for the Security Council sanctions system to be able to withstand domestic legal challenge if it is to remain effective.

We believe the establishment of the Ombudsperson for the 1267 sanctions regime has been an important step forward in strengthening fair procedures, particularly in relation to de-listing requests. In this regard, we wish to acknowledge and thank Ms Kimberly Prost for her tireless efforts, including her active outreach activities and in keeping the Security Council apprised of her office's activities. The office has only been operational a short time and yet has established a substantial caseload, resulting in 13 individuals and 23 entities being de-listed. Without the Ombudsperson's recommendations, such individuals may well have remained inappropriately subject to the effect and stigma of sanctions.

Australia was particularly pleased with the strengthened role of the Ombudsperson
provided by Resolution 1989 which served to increase the transparency of the
listing and de-listing process. In terms of de-listing, the changes ensure greater
weight is given to the Ombudsperson's recommendations through the Committee
process. This strengthens the independence of the office, and also the ability
of the petitioner to be heard. Due process is also strengthened by the emphasis
given in Resolution 1989 to the provision of reasons by the Committee, such
as where the Committee decides to reject a de-listing request.

As a practical matter, Australia believes that the de-listing process can only work effectively if the Ombudsperson has the relevant information to enable her to make an informed recommendation to the Committee. Recommendations should be made on the basis on complete information. Providing a petitioner with detailed reasons as to why their de-listing request was accepted or denied is fundamental to ensuring due process is followed. Australia has, along with a number of other States who spoke today, concluded arrangements with the Office of the Ombudsperson to share confidential information. We urge all Member States to consider entering into similar arrangements, and to cooperate fully with any requests for information by the Ombudsperson.

Finally, Mr President,

As recommended by the Secretary-General last year in his report on Strengthening and coordinating UN rule of law activities, Australia considers that further consideration should be given to extending the mandate of the Ombudsperson across other sanctions regimes. We recognise the role of the de-listing focal point in relation to the other sanctions regimes, and that the al-Qaida sanctions regime is of a different nature to the others. However, in our view, we should consider extending the level of protection provided by the Ombudsperson to the other regimes. Greater uniformity across the regimes could serve to improve the overall effectiveness of the UN sanctions system.

Thank you Mr President.

Last Updated: 18 June 2015
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