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Speech Constraints In Fight Against Terrorism

Un Official Says Most Countries Allow Speech Constraints In Fight Against Terrorism

The head of the main United Nations counter-terrorism office said today that speech that incites terrorism could probably be constrained under the laws of most countries, though they might have different interpretations about what constitutes incitement.

It is probably safe to say that there is agreement amongst most Member States that speech that is both intended to lead to the incitement of terrorist acts, and that causes a danger that such act will be committed, may lawfully be restricted, Javier Rupérez, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), told heads of special services, state security and law enforcement agencies meeting in Kazan, Russia.

The group is meeting from15 to16 June on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1624, which was adopted during the 2005 UN World Summit and requires States to curtail incitement to commit terrorist acts.

“On the question of the prohibition and prevention of incitement to commit terrorist acts, it is evident that States have different understandings of this concept, Mr. Rupérez said, however.

Some States have already enacted specific laws prohibiting statements that may directly or indirectly lead to the commission of terrorist acts, while a smaller number said they have criminalized the glorification of terrorism, along with supportive explanations of the scourge.

Mr. Rupérez said that so far, CTED has only received replies from some 30 States on the action they have taken to implement the resolution, predominantly from Europe, along with a few responses from Asia, the Middle East and other regions. In addition, most legal authorities find the issue highly problematic.

“The criminalization of certain forms of speech is a highly sensitive matter under international law, since freedom of expression has been recognized, time and time again, by the United Nations as well as regional organizations and many respected authorities, as a ‘cornerstone, a foundation,’ of societies based on democratic principles and the rule of law,” he said.

In addition to the discussion about resolution 1624, the Kazan meeting is expected to tackle such topics as providing security for oil and gas industries, countering extremist activities that exploit religious ideologies and establishing an international database on organizations and individuals involved in terrorist activities.


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