United front against terrorism
Modern terrorism has
assumed an all pervasive nature, that it is essential for
nations to unite to combat the menace as a unified force. Today,
terrorism has advanced to such a sophisticated level that laying
emphasis on the security aspect alone would hardly do. There is
a need for nations to share and collate their intelligence,
update technical expertise and to strengthen all legal and
judicial structures that could deal more effectively with the
problem of terrorism. South Asia has suffered immensely during
the recent past as a result of terrorism.
The Bali bombings, attacks on Mumbai are just two examples of
how terrorists could strike at random and with impunity. Nations
therefore, should be more prepared and equipped to deal with the
problem. If not, terrorism would inflict untold damage to social
development and economic progress of countries.
Colombo is currently hosting a three-day workshop for police
officers and prosecutors in South Asia on effectively countering
terrorism with the support of UN Counter Terrorism. It is
appropriate that Sri Lanka was chosen as the venue for this
workshop, the second of its kind (the first being in Bangladesh)
the country having only recently defeated the No. One terrorist
outfit in the world.
But this is not the end of the problem. We should for ever be
vigilant since all pervasive nature of terrorism in the modern
era can always come back to haunt us. It may not be the LTTE.
But global terrorism today is faceless.
It can sweep across boundaries to swallow up nations in
different forms and guises to threaten the political stability,
economic progress and security not just of individual States but
of entire regions. We know that in the present day terrorism
cannot be treated as confined to one country or a single region.
Today, the phenomenon known as global terrorism has assumed the
nature of a hydra headed monster which has spread its tentacles
far and wide cutting across ethnic, sectarian or ideological,
What we are witnessing today is not merely cross border
terrorism but Terrorism Incorporated where the terror networks
overlap States, and regions to encompass a global reach. It is
no longer confined to raw acts of terrorism alone but involves
drugs and human trafficking, money laundering, counterfeiting
and a myriad of other rackets that cause maximum harm to the
well-being of a State.
The LTTE, for instance though a terrorist outfit that set
upon an avowed goal of establishing a separate State in Sri
Lanka possessed a sophisticated global network that included
commercial interests that helped widen and expand its evil
empire. Terrorism is no longer one dimensional and should be
tackled on several fronts.
Hence there is a need for a change in the strategies hitherto
adopted by law enforcement agencies and the legal systems if we
are to deal with the new challenge. It is in this context that
the UN initiative to facilitate the delivery of technical
assistance to States to develop and strengthen their counter
terrorism capabilities by working together with other members of
the United Nations’ family to support the implementation of the
United Nations’ Global counter-terrorism strategy should be
Of course Sri Lanka will be able to offer valuable inputs
into this exercise from her experience of combatting terrorism
for over three decades. But the overarching influence of global
terrorism if to be challenged effectively should have the inputs
of all nations not just at the security level, but also in other
ancillary fields such as the judiciary and prosecution aspects.
The workshop is aimed to get the participants thrash out a
comprehensive formula whereby the new challenge posed by modern
terrorism could be met. It is hoped that the Police officers and
prosecutors of the South Asian region could work out a fool
proof system to block terrorist traffic through the porous
borders of many South Asian countries. It is such a lapse that
saw the deadly attack carried out by terrorists that wrecked the
landscape of Bombay.
It is the vulnerability of border security that allowed Tamil
mercenaries to penetrate into Maldives in 1987 and helped stage
an aborted coup. It is not only on the security front. There is
also a need for a uniformed legal apparatus to tackle terrorism
in the region such as allowing for the extradition of terrorist
suspects wanted by a fellow Asian neighbour.
Hopefully, the workshop would produce an iron clad formula
which would help tackle the problem of terrorism on all fronts.