State parties to the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism reaffirm their commitment to prevent and counter new terrorist threats

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Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro

WASHINGTON, USA – The states parties to the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism of the Organization of American States (OAS) met for the first time this week to strengthen hemispheric cooperation to prevent and counter-terrorism. It was the first meeting of the states parties and signatories of the Convention since the signing of the treaty, which this year celebrates its twentieth anniversary.

Among other actions, the states parties agreed on a Declaration and a Recommendations document to promote comprehensive responses at the regional level in terms of preventing and countering terrorism.

The meeting, chaired by the governments of Peru and the United States, and organized by the Secretariat of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), was held in virtual format with the aim of reviewing past efforts over the last two decades in prevention and countering of terrorism, in addition to addressing future challenges.

“Honoring the memory of the victims, as well as the resilience and courage of all people affected by terrorism, requires concrete actions aimed at preventing and countering this scourge; concrete actions such as the effective implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, a pioneering effort,” said the secretary-general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, during the opening of the meeting.

The secretary of state of the United States, Antony Blinken also highlighted the need to promote international cooperation and cited the creation of new tools to prevent terrorist attacks and threats, such as the Inter-American Network on Terrorism, launched in 2019. Blinken stressed that “terrorists are finding new ways to cross borders by sea, by land, by air”, so efforts should be focused on countering these efforts.

The deputy minister of foreign affairs of Peru, Ana Cecilia Gervasi, recalled that “terrorism knows no borders” and highlighted the role of the Convention as a necessary international response to counter new threats, among which she highlighted violent extremism and cyberterrorism. “It is also important to seek the implementation of the Convention with a comprehensive approach that takes into account the protection and needs of victims of terrorism,” said ambassador Gervasi.

Martha Delgado, undersecretary for multilateral affairs of the ministry of foreign affairs of Mexico, the country that holds the chair of CICTE, warned about the increase in cases of violence and hate crimes in the name of supremacist ideologies.

The Inter-American Convention against Terrorism was signed during the 32nd General Assembly of the OAS held in Barbados on June 3, 2002. The member states of the OAS then formed one of the first groups of countries to adopt a common anti-terrorism policy at the regional level. Currently, 24 OAS member states have ratified the Convention and ten countries are signatory states.

The CICTE Secretariat provides political and technical assistance to its member states through different programs agreed upon in its annual Work Plan, which focus on areas such as cybersecurity, border controls, financing of terrorism, prevention of proliferation weapons of mass destruction or violent extremism, among others.

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