Parliamentary Conference on Combating International Terrorism

At the conclusion of the Parliamentary Conference on Combating International Terrorism jointly held on 28 March 2017 in St. Petersburg by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member Nations, we are determined to join efforts in fighting ruthless criminal activities of terrorists worldwide. The discourse between the co-chairs of the Parliamentary Conference on Combating International Terrorism has once again proved that there are no easy solutions to issues related to fighting terrorism. Terrorism is a common threat to all nations, and can only be eliminated by joint efforts. One of the key aims of terrorists is to disrupt the international community. For this reason, we firmly believe that only through unity in achieving the common goal and efficient diversified cooperation will we deny terrorists a chance to break civilized society apart and instill fear and pain in people in the attempt to deprive them of universal human values and peaceful future.

We acknowledge the central coordinating role of the UN and the UN Security Council and confirm our commitment to the letter and spirit of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted in 2006. While terrorists have adopted new means of destruction to achieve their criminal aims, the principles and instruments of the Strategy on preventing and fighting terrorism are of continued relevance today, remaining our key guidelines. We stand for full and unconditional implementation by the countries of the counter-terrorist resolutions of the UN Security Council. We welcome ideas to strengthen global work in this field, including those recently proposed by the UN Secretary General.

Terrorists seek to undermine unity of nations and immerse populations of entire countries in fear, eliminating their ability to resist effectively. They seek to undermine the fundamental principles and values of today's world order, which has to be based on humanism and dialogue between nations and cultures. At the same time, in order to fight terrorist activities, it is critical that we establish efficient interaction between our intelligence agencies, including special-purpose funding of their effort in preventing and stopping terrorist attacks.

However, as political leaders, we must realize that we will only win the long battle against terrorism if we stand by our basic principles. The key principle is our obligation to sustain global peace based on freedom, equality, justice and respect for fundamental rights of our citizens as enshrined in international commitments. In this regard, we firmly reject the identification of terrorism with specific ideas and values upheld by any race, ethnicity, civilization, nationality or religion. Killings of civilians do not have any moral or ideological justifications.

As we develop our capabilities in preventing, stopping and responding to acts of terror, we must counter conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. These conditions include but are not limited to: unresolved conflicts; interference in internal affairs of sovereign nations; lack of rule of law; violations of human rights; growing cultural, national and religious discrimination; lack of social and economic development; political exclusion and marginalization of social groups; strong contrasts in standards of living between countries and within specific states. In particular, we need to consider establishing a system for early prevention of ethnic, national, religious and other conflicts using our parliamentary frameworks.

Education about the fundamental underpinnings of our societies and actions of our states, including those enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is arguably our strongest preventive tool in countering terrorist ideology and propaganda, radicalization of communities and recruitment of new members by terrorist organizations. This entails integrated effort of the state and civil society. To this end, we will seek active co-operation with the media to promote the free exchange of ideas, while countering terrorist propaganda.

As legislators representing at the conference an association of countries joint by the objective to fight the common evil, we renew our commitment to strengthen our domestic legal frameworks in order to combat terrorist acts and to build capacity and strength within our societies. We recognize that international legal instruments play a crucial role and we will leverage our influence in our various parliaments to encourage their ratification and implementation in the national legal frameworks. We need to ensure maximum use of parliamentary diplomatic capabilities, as well as interparliamentary forums to strengthen the dialog between cultures, religious confessions and ethnicities.

We will continue to encourage efforts to prevent and detect the movement of terrorists in our countries, to suppress financing of terrorism, to counter the use of the Internet and social networks by terrorist organizations. In addition, we will promote search and elimination of deficiencies in systems ensuring public safety and integrity of infrastructure in our countries. We need to take most decisive measures to prevent terrorists' access to weapons of mass destruction, which could potentially spell disaster for the human race.

We believe that to effectively counter terrorism, we need to securely prevent supply of finances and materials to terrorist organizations, as required by the respective resolutions of the UN Security Council and international FATF standards. National legislation must criminalize all assistance to terrorists; all activities involving economic relations with terrorist organizations, particularly ISIS, need to be identified and severely prosecuted; also, we need to ensure full implementation of Resolutions 2199 and 2253 adopted by the UN Security Council.

There is no single approach that will eliminate terrorism as the global phenomenon in the short term. Therefore, the international community must design and implement on top integrated solutions to counter the ideology and propaganda of terrorism, prevent radicalization of our citizens and their travel to war zones for engagement in conflicts, enforce criminal responsibility for their crimes committed with subsequent reintegration to the society and rehabilitation, provided that they no longer participate in terrorist activities.

We believe that global terrorism derives its strength from the terrorist and extremist ideology, which is being knowingly and widely spread. In this regard, we will encourage promoting intergovernmental efforts to fight the terrorist ideology and propaganda, as well as exchanges of national best practices and achieved results.

We confirm our further commitment to effectively counter the threat of terrorism via partnerships and transparent international cooperation without any double standards in treating terrorists while strictly complying with the provisions of the international law and the UN Charter. Mainly, we are referring to the principles of respect for countries' sovereignty, equality and non-intervention. We will encourage continuous exchange of information and best practices in all areas related to spread of terrorist and extremist ideology and formation of terrorist groups inspired by such ideology. At the level of the organizations we represent, the OSCE PA and IPA CIS, we will further cooperate in the field of countering terrorism.

On an almost daily basis, we hear about and think about the victims of terrorist attacks. It is with them in mind that we will keep the fight against terrorism high on our political agendas, and demonstrate to the criminals perpetrating terrorist acts that our societies have the will to fight back with resolve, determination and dignity.

Christine MUTTONEN                      Valentina MATVIENKO

President                                             Chairperson of the Council

of the Parliamentary Assembly           of the Interparliamentary Assembly

of the Organization for Security          of Member Nations

and Co-operation in Europe               of the Commonwealth of Independent States