Combating terrorism, the GNRD way



  • During the last two years there have been 62,312 terrorist incidents worldwide which left 632,716 people dead and 1,763,802 injured.

  • Worldwide, terrorists are in full control of approximately 12.5 million square kilometers of territory.

  • Military means have limited the ability of terrorism by 7%, political solutions by 43% and security solutions by 21%. 

  • Because of terrorism, poverty has increased by 26%, the ability to exploit national wealth and resources has decreased by 37%, and 9% of education has been affected negatively.

These are startling statistics – and important ones if accurate. But are they at all reliable? I suspect not, since anyone who claims such precise figures for the number of terrorist incidents and their victims probably has little grasp of the problems involved in compiling the data.

The figures quoted above were among dozens of statistics about international terrorism presented by Loai Deeb, founder and president of the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), at a conference in Geneva last February (see video above).

Deeb told his audience they were the result of almost two years' work by GNRD which had "deployed thousands of field researchers around the world" and worked "in communion with all countries in the world without exception", in order to compile them.

The GNRD file 
Read the full story here


Unfortunately though, GNRD has not explained its methodology or published the research data underlying its statistics – which means that until it does so the figures are worthless for most practical purposes.

The main aim of the Geneva conference (programme and list of "VIP guests and speakers" here) was to present GNRD's draft of a proposed international convention on counterterrorism. Copies of the 34-page document were distributed at the conference and a few individual clauses from it were read to the audience by a succession of young women in what one of those attending described as more like a beauty contest than the presentation of what GNRD hopes will become an international treaty.

Rather oddly, according to the same attendee, there was no actual discussion, debate or analysis of the document's content in open sessions at the conference. It was discussed in two closed workshops to which only "country representatives" were admitted.

No less oddly, considering GNRD is seeking international support for its proposed convention on counterterrorism, the document has not been made available for public discussion through its website (though I have recently been shown a copy by someone unconnected with GNRD).

The core proposal in GNRD's draft is to establish an International Council for Counterterrorism which, basically, would decide which individuals and organisations are to be classified as "terrorist". It would compile and maintain a worldwide list, to be reviewed annually.

The council would have 47 elected members, chosen by states which are parties to the convention, on the following basis:

African States: (13) seats 
Asian States: (13) seats 
Eastern European States: (6) seats 
Latin America and Caribbean States: (8) seats 
Western European States and others: (7) seats 

Members of the UN Security Council would also be considered as full members of the Council for Counterterrorism, and its decisions would be adopted by a simple majority.

States which are parties to the convention, and observer states, would be able to nominate "individuals, groups, organisations and institutions" for listing as terrorists. Nominations must be submitted three months before a regular session of the council, with supporting information provided two months in advance.

Those designated as terrorists would be allowed two months to appeal against the decision.

Interestingly, the bureaucratic side of this would be placed in the hands of GNRD. Article 17 of the draft convention states: "The Global Network for Rights and Development shall execute the work of the General Secretariat of the Council and provide administrative facilitation for its activities."At no point in GNRD's draft convention is there any attempt to define "terrorism", so presumably who does or does not count as a terrorist would be determined by the voting of council members.
Posted by Brian Whitaker
Friday, 12 June 2015