UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council ordered countries worldwide to step up the fight against terrorism financing on Thursday by ensuring they have laws that make it a serious crime to fund terrorist acts.
The council unanimously adopted a French-drafted resolution that was the first stand-alone measure dedicated specifically to countering the financing of terrorism. The resolution calls on all states to “ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offences” to prosecute those who collect funds or provide economic resources to terrorist organisations.
The binding resolution was drafted under chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which means it can be enforced with sanctions.
UN counter-terror chief Vladimir Voronkov told the council that the measure “comes at a critical time” as recent attacks have shown that terror groups have access to financial flows through legal and illegal means.
The resolution urged countries to establish financial intelligence units to strengthen efforts to counter terrorism financing and to share information on their investigations.
Marshall Billingslea, president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which combats money-laundering and terror financing, said less than a fifth of countries were applying laws that prosecute suspected terror financiers as criminals.
Billingslea said the resolution would also contribute to halting ransom payments for kidnappings by terror groups, which have become a major source of funding.
“States must not allow hostage-takers or terrorists to benefit from ransom payments,” Billingslea told the council. “This is crucial, in particular as kidnapping for ransom has become the major funding source used by the remnants of Daesh around the world,” he told the council, referring to the militant Islamic State group.
The resolution will help the FATF ratchet pressure on more than 50 countries to pass new legislation on countering terror financing.
The council has adopted resolutions aimed at choking off revenue to the IS group and Al Qaeda-linked fighter, including a major text in 2015 that allows for sanctions. But the latest measure encompasses in one text various initiatives contained in a range of resolutions.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2019