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Unformatted text preview: The United Nations has continued to grapple with the problems posed by terrorism, both in terms of addressing its causes and consequences, and in endeavoring to work out how to support the struggle against terrorism without permitting or encouraging trampling on fundamental human rights. Within the framework of the preparations for the World Summit, the High-Level Panel had addressed the issue of terrorism in a broad-ranging way and advocated a comprehensive strategy in relation to terrorism.(liii) They argued that there was a need to attempt to address the causes and facilitators of terrorism, as well as ensuring that there was a strong legal and regulatory framework to prevent and punish the perpetrators of terrorist acts and those who supported them.(liv) The High-level Panel saw the lack of an agreed comprehensive definition of terrorism at the UN level as an impediment to the UNs efforts:(lv) "157. The United Nations ability to develop a comprehensive strategy has been constrained by the inability of Member States to agree on an anti -terrorism convention including a definition of terrorism. This prevents the United Nations from exerting its moral authority and from sending an unequivocal message that terrorism is never an acceptable tactic, even for the most defensible of causes. 159. The norms governing the use of force by non -State actors have not kept pace with those pertaining to States. This is not so much a legal question as a political one. Legally, virtually all forms of terrorism are prohibited by one of 12 international counter-terrorism conventions, international customary law, the Geneva Conventions or the Rome Statutes. Legal scholars know this, but there is a clear difference between this scattered list of conventions and little known provisions of other treaties and the compelling normative framework, understood by all, that should surround the question of terrorism. The United Nations must achieve the same degree of normative strength concerning non -State use of force as it has concerning State use of force. Lack of agreement on a clear and well-known definition undermines the normative and moral stance against terrorism and has stained the United Nations image. Achieving a comprehensive convention on terrorism, including a clear definition, is a political imperative. 160. The search for an agreed definition usually stumbles on two issues. The first is the argument that any definition should include States use of armed forces against civilians. We believe that the legal and normative framework against State violations is far stronger than in the case of non-State actors and we do not find this objection to be compelling. The second objection is that peoples under foreign occupation have a right to resistance and a definition of terrorism should not override this right. The right to resistance is contested by some. But it is not the central point: the central point is that there is nothing in the fact of occupation that justifies the targeting and killing of...
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