United Nations: The UN Security Council Monday adopted a resolution calling on all countries not to pay ransom to terrorists in incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking, Xinhua reported.

In the unanimously approved resolution, the Security Council expressed its determination to prevent kidnappings and hostage-takings committed by terrorist groups and to secure the safe release of hostages “without ransom payments or political concessions.”

The 15-nation body strongly condemned such incidents committed by terrorist groups “for any purpose, including raising funds or gaining political concessions”.

The council also expressed concerns at the increase in incidents of kidnapping for ransom by terrorists, “in particular the increase in kidnappings by Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups,” said the resolution.

It underscored that the payment of ransoms to terrorists funds future kidnappings and hostage-takings.

“Ransom payments to terrorist groups are one of the sources of income which supports their recruitment efforts, strengthens their operational capability to organise and carry out terrorist attacks, and incentivises future incidents of kidnapping for ransom,” the resolution noted.

Therefore, the Security Council “calls upon all member states to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or from political concessions and to secure the safe release of hostages.”

The most powerful UN body also urged countries to co-operate closely during incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking committed by terrorist groups and called upon all member states to “encourage private sector partners to adopt or to follow relevant guidelines and good practices for preventing and responding to terrorist kidnappings without paying ransom”.

“Action today by the Security Council illustrates the international community’s commitment to tackling kidnap-for-ransom, which has become the most significant terrorist financing challenge and remains a terrible threat to nationals of all countries,” British Permanent Representative to the UN Mark Lyall Grant told reporters after adoption of the resolution. Britain proposed and circulated the draft resolution in early December.

According to him, it is estimated that Al Qaeda affiliated and other Islamist extremist groups have collected at least $105 million by way of committing incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking in the last three and a half years.

Source: IANS