UN ombudsman to review list of terrorist suspects

An ombudsman is now to consider the delisting of terrorist suspects from the United Nations list of Al Qaeda and Taliban members as the Security Council adopted a resolution intended to bring ‘fairness and transparency’ to its anti-terrorism efforts.

The decision, driven by repeated criticism that non-suspects might be included in the 500-member list, was taken unanimously by the 15-nation council on Thursday.

Those listed will now have an opportunity to file a request to be removed from the sanctions list.

In line with the resolution 1904, a post of ombudsperson, who will have to review requests “in an independent and impartial manner”, is to be established for an initial period of 18 months.

A range of international human rights organizations, including London-based Amnesty International, hailed the resolution, which is believed to assure “an independent and effective review mechanism” and “relief, namely lifting of the measures imposed, to those unfairly listed.”

A sanctions regime targeting Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated extremist groups was established in 1999 under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267. The sanctions include an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

Austria‘s UN Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting called the resolution “a significant step forward in improving the fairness and transparency” of the sanctions regime, “thus enhancing its effectiveness and legitimacy.”

“For the first time ever, individuals and entities seeking a de-listing will have a chance to present their case to an independent and impartial ombudsperson,” Mayr-Harting, who chairs the council’s 1267 sanctions committee, said.

Meanwhile, another resolution adopted by the Security Council is aimed at strengthening sanctions against terrorist suspects and those with ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

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