“Counter-terrorism at the UN: Coordinating Cooperation and Reconciling Human Rights and Security”, a Conversation with Mike Smith

  • DATE / TIME:
    2019•03•26    18:30 - 19:30

    On 26 March 2019, UNU will host “Counter-terrorism at the UN: Coordinating Cooperation and Reconciling Human Rights and Security” a conversation with Mr Mike Smith, Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University and former Executive Director of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).

    Countering the scourge of terrorism has been on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) for decades. The UN Security Council first imposed sanctions related to terrorism more than 25 years ago, and following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, began adopting legally binding resolutions requiring UN Member States to take steps to combat terrorism and prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into terrorists’ hands. Monitoring mechanisms and committees, such as the Counter-Terrorism Committee, with the assistance of an executive directorate, were established to help states implement these obligations. Meanwhile, in 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy intended to address the root causes of terrorism while emphasising respect for human rights. Across the UN system, other UN bodies and specialized agencies support a range of counter-terrorism initiatives.

    Yet, the UN is increasingly questioned about the effectiveness of its involvement in the fight against terrorism. What has the UN’s work on counter-terrorism achieved in the past two decades? Can the UN play an effective broker role between States with counter-terrorism capacities and those in need of assistance? Can the UN effectively advocate counter-terrorism measures without compromising international human rights and humanitarian mandates?

    Mr Smith will join Dr Sabine Becker-Thierry, UNU Chief of Staff, to discuss the challenges of coordinating cooperation on the sensitive issue of counter-terrorism and reconciling it with human rights.

    The UNU Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation: you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation and at the reception that will follow, where all audience members are invited to enjoy the food and drinks that will be served while exchanging ideas and making new contacts.

    Please note that this event will be in English only; Japanese interpretation will not be provided. Advance registration (by 25 March 2019) is required. Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the online registration page.

    About the speaker

    Mr Mike Smith is the Adjunct Professor at the Department of Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism at Macquarie University. He previously served as Executive Director of the CTED and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations from 2007 to 2013. Earlier in his career, he was a diplomat for the Commonwealth of Australia, including as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and the Conference on Disarmament, Chief of Staff to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and as Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. More recently, Mr Smith was appointed as Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea.

    Mr Smith holds a Bachelor of Law from Adelaide University, and speaks Arabic and French.

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