Fighting terrorism a priority in BRICS Johannesburg Declaration


Leaders of the BRICS nations meeting in Sandton, South Africa, for the 10th Summit of the bloc want to see a holistic approach in fighting terrorism “in all its forms” to ensure terrorists have “no place to hide”.

Presidents Michel Temer (Brazil), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Narendra Modi (India), Xi Jinping (China) and Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa) signed the Johannesburg Declaration adopted on the second day of the Summit.

The five urge “concerted efforts to counter terrorism under UN auspices on a firm international legal basis and express conviction that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure an effective fight against terrorism”.

BRICS, as per the Johannesburg Declaration, wants the international community to establish “a genuinely broad counter-terrorism coalition” as well as supporting the world body’s central co-ordinating in combatting terrorism.

Reaffirming their commitment to UN counter-terrorism efforts, the leaders were of the view the fight against terrorism must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international refugee and humanitarian law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, according to government’s SANews.

A call was made by the BRICS leaders for the “expeditious finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the UN General Assembly”.

To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, BRICS countries emphasised the need for multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, including at the Conference on Disarmament.

They believe those responsible for committing, organising or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable.
“We call on all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combatting terrorism, which should include countering radicalisation, recruitment, travel of foreign terrorist fighters, blocking sources and channels of terrorist financing including, for instance, through organised crime by means of money-laundering, supply of weapons, drug trafficking and other criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases and countering misuse of the Internet by terrorist entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs),” reads the declaration.

Because terrorists were using technology and exploiting legal loopholes to further their agendas, the BRICS leaders reaffirmed the importance of elaboration under UN auspices of rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour of states ensuring security in the use of ICTs.

While the leaders “embraced” the undeniable benefits and new opportunities brought about by advances in ICTs, especially in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they felt these advances bring new challenges and threats resulting from growing misuse of ICTs for criminal activities as well as increasing malicious use of ICTs by State and non-state actors.

In this regard, they stressed the importance of international co-operation against terrorist and criminal use of ICTs and the need to develop a universal regulatory binding instrument within the UN on combatting criminal use of ICTs.

The bloc has developed a BRICS Roadmap of Practical Co-operation on Ensuring Security in the Use of ICTs. Member states are looking into establishing a co-operation framework to ensure security in the use of ICTs. They are also considering a BRICS intergovernmental agreement on ICTs co-operation.

In its declaration, the BRICS bloc also pledged to strengthen peace and security. “We reaffirm our commitment to collective efforts for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means and recognise the role of the UN Security Council as bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security,” the declaration stated. It singled out conflicts in Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, the Arabian Gulf, Syria and North Africa as areas of concern.
“We emphasise the important role of United Nations peacekeeping to international peace and security, and the contribution of BRICS countries in this regard. We recognise the need for BRICS countries to further enhance mutual communication and co-operation on peacekeeping matters at the United Nations and the South African initiative for a BRICS working group on peacekeeping in this regard.
“We commend the African Union for efforts aimed at resolving and managing conflicts on the continent and welcome the strengthening of the co-operation between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. We commend the African Union’s commitment to the ‘Silencing of the Guns by 2020’ and support efforts to strengthen the African Peace and Security Architecture,” the declaration stated.