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Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the OAS Opens Meeting to Analyze Sources of Terrorist Financing and Strengthening of Criminal Justice Systems

  February 20, 2014

The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States (OAS) today inaugurated its fourteenth regular session in Washington, DC highlighting the importance of countering crimes committed by terrorist groups to finance their activities, and of strengthening justice systems in the region.

In the inaugural ceremony of the event, which will conclude tomorrow, the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of security and combating terrorism for the countries of the Hemisphere. “The leaders of our member states have made it clear by word and deed that terrorism undermines the pillars that this hemispheric Organization defends and promotes,” said Ambassador Ramdin.

“Over the next few days, member states will have an opportunity to discuss, among other topics, how to combat possible criminal activities of terrorist groups, and how to strengthen the response of the criminal justice system to terrorism,” said Assistant Secretary General Ramdin. The objective, added the senior OAS official, “is to understand more fully how terrorist organizations support their activities through the commission of other crimes, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, the use of illegal migration networks and trafficking in firearms.”

In his conclusion, Ambassador Ramdin said “terrorism seeks to immobilize our societies with fear with a macabre image of death, and restrict our capacity to apply the rule of law. Our response must therefore be vigorous, constantly adapting to the changing global reality. We have a permanent obligation to adopt measures to strengthen cooperation mechanisms among the countries of the Hemisphere.”

The Chair of CICTE during the 2013-2014 period and Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OAS, Andrés González Díaz, highlighted that, while there remains much to be done in terms of organization and coordination in combating terrorism, the Committee “has earned a well-deserved international recognition as a model of effective and efficient multilateral cooperation.” Given the omnipresent nature of the danger, said Ambassador González Díaz, “international cooperation and the exchange of information are increasingly necessary.”

In addition, the outgoing Chair emphasized that his country considers that CICTE “has done an excellent job of defining policies to combat terrorism.” As member states, added the Colombian Ambassador, “we have an important political and legal environment from which to address this threat. It is time then to go one step further. It's time to define specific areas of cooperation and make specific programs around these areas.”

The opening session also featured the participation of the Executive Director of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee, Jean-Paul Laborde, who analyzed the changes that have taken place during the last decade related to terrorism, among them the expansion into new geographic areas, the need to adapt traditional anti-terrorist measures, and the use of technology by terrorists.

The Executive Director highlighted the importance of the cooperation of the United Nations and CICTE, through the continuous exchange of information, best practices and technical assistance, using workshops, country visits and other activities. Laborde concluded his presentation expressing his hope that this cooperation “will continue to strengthen and broaden as we each work to eradicate the scourge of terrorism in the Americas and around the world.”

During the first plenary session, the outgoing Chair of the Committee, Ambassador González Díaz, presented the report for the 2013-2014 period, highlighting the launch of "capacity building and training programs in all member states" through the holding of 113 events that "contributed to the strengthening and professionalization of approximately 4,181 officers in the region ”in issues such as "secure borders, protection of airports and maritime facilities, tourist security; and the detection of fraudulent documents."

The diplomat concluded his report ensuring that "only with the cooperation of all member states is it possible to move ahead and design agendas and issues that realistically respond to the immense needs in the prevention and fight against terrorism.” He said ​​progress was made in structuring projects and putting them into practice, which has contributed to "reducing our vulnerabilities, but the road ahead is much longer." Finally, he urged to states to "further encourage the authorities of their countries to continue the work of strategic alliances."

At the same meeting, CICTE chose its Chair and Vice Chair for the next twelve months. Canada, who was represented by its Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Allan Culham, assumed the Chair. The Vice Chair, meanwhile, was assumed by Paraguay in the figure of its Permanent Representative, Ambassador Elisa Ruiz Díaz, and the Peruvian delegate, Vitaliano Gallardo was designated Rapporteur of the Fourteenth Regular Session.

The new Chair of CICTE and Permanent Representative of Canada, Alan Culham, called it “an honor” and a “privilege” to assume the leadership of the body, and explained that his country has proposed a strategic vision for CICTE beyond 2014 as one of the key themes for its term as Chair. “Confirming a renewed strategic vision and fostering a frank exchange on the objectives, priorities and institutional structures of this committee will be essential to setting this organization on the right path forward,” said Ambassador Culham.

Upon concluding his address, the CICTE Chair said “by exploring the manner in which we can cooperate to counter the criminal activities of terrorist groups, we hope to develop a broader collective understanding of terrorist financing and recruitment activities in the western hemisphere, and how these activities my contribute to terrorism in other parts of the world, including Africa and the Middle East.”

For his part the Executive Secretary of the Committee Neil Klopfenstein said the CICTE “shall continue to serve its member states,” providing them an unparalleled level of training, expanding their contacts, and coordinating and participating at the subregional, regional and international levels to ensure that “we remain at the forefront of developments in this field.”

Klopfenstein also called on donor countries “to maintain or increase their current level of support” and urged member states “to contribute for the first time or increase the normal contribution” in order to achieve the goal "to raise a million dollars for non-traditional donors in 2014."

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-055/14