STATEMENT: International Day for Victims of Terrorism

[INGEZONDEN] – The UN has declared August 21 as the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Terrorism. In response to this, the fight against terrorism is explained from an international perspective and in a Surinamese context.

On September 11, 2001, two planes flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the economic center of the United States, and another plane flew into the Pentagon, the power center of the US defense forces. What was thought impossible has happened. The beating heart and protective shield of the most powerful country in the world has been broken. The terrorist organization Al Qaeda is held responsible for the lost lives of thousands of victims. Since these terrorist acts, the world has changed and the subject of ‘security’ has never disappeared from the international political agenda.

After the terrorist attacks in America in 2001, the world reached an irreversible low point. Everything is screened from a security point of view and security measures have been drastically tightened. This includes mandatory identification of citizens, extra security for certain objects and people and expansion of camera surveillance. But also more frequent visible deployability of military personnel, stricter passenger checks at airports and various anti-terror laws. While this attempts to limit the risk of terrorist attacks, people’s feelings of insecurity – such as tourists, travelers and expats – may not have diminished. The war on terror has begun!

The role of the media
Not only is it difficult to describe the concept of terrorism. The purpose of the terrorist action is also a diffuse, historically determined and socioculturally bound criterion in the definition of the term “terrorism”. This concept involves a moral value judgment and is therefore dependent on right-wrong frameworks that may differ from person to person and change over time. There is always a political and/or social context. How do you see the world? According to Naom Chomsky and Edward Herman, the mass media provide a view of the world that aligns with and promotes the economic, social and political interests of the elite. Unforgettable is the turnaround of Nelson Mandela, who was branded a ‘terrorist’ for years before becoming a ‘freedom fighter’ (not only) by South Africa’s apartheid policy

International perspective
In connection with the fight against terrorism, UN member states commit themselves through international conventions to define all terrorist acts, methods and practices as criminal and unjustified. The aim is to create a comprehensive legal framework internationally that covers all aspects of terrorism. In addition, take measures through national legislation to prevent and prevent the financing of terrorist organizations[5]. Therefore, monitoring the flow of money obtained through financial crime or the non-profit sector is crucial, so that funding cannot be used to commit terrorist acts. International cooperation between countries is essential, as is the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Surinamese context
Attacks can be committed anywhere in the world. Due to globalization, the phenomenon of terrorism is not only possible in the Middle East, America, Madrid, Paris or London, but also within the borders of Suriname. This is not a utopia, because in July 2017 Suriname was disturbed by the arrest of two Muslim brothers who, according to media reports, were then suspected of preparing a possible terrorist attack in Suriname. In the end, one of the brothers was sentenced to two years in prison in June 2019, including a three-month suspended sentence for association with the terrorist movement Islamic State. The other brother was acquitted. The judge has found insufficient evidence to suspect that the brothers recruited people for the armed struggle in Syria and the preparation and financing of terrorist acts.

To harmonize Surinamese legislation aimed at preventing and combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism in accordance with international requirements and tightening it up, there is a draft Law on the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism of 27 January 2021 for treatment per the DNA. This law will replace the various existing laws in this area and, as a unified regulation, will adapt to the latest developments in FATF recommendations.

Countering terrorism requires an international and national legal framework for cooperation and information exchange between countries. In addition to security measures, detection, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators are essential. The declared war on terror is not over.

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