I welcome the decision by the United Nations Security Council 1267/1989 (Al-Qaida) Committee to designate Boko Haram as an entity associated with Al-Qaida.  The designation took effect at 23 May Canberra time.

Separately, the Prime Minister has announced that the Government is taking urgent steps to list Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation under Australia’s Criminal Code. Terrorist organisation offences carry penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment.

Australia joined other members of the Security Council in April in condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, including the despicable abduction of more than 200 school girls from Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. The Security Council Committee’s decision to designate Boko Haram reflects the fact that its association with Al-Qaida is undeniable.

The designation of Boko Haram will have two important consequences.

First, it imposes an immediate obligation on all Member States to ensure Boko Haram is denied access to arms or military assistance, as well as to funds or other material support.

It also means that any person or entity that provides funds, arms, recruits or other material assistance to Boko Haram can now also be added to the Al-Qaida Sanctions List.

As Chair of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, Australia has promoted a strategic approach to the use of the sanctions, to ensure they support national and regional responses to the evolving Al-Qaida-inspired terrorist threat.

The Committee’s designation of Boko Haram is a reflection of this approach.

The designation has immediate effect in Australia. It is a serious criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to use or deal with Boko Haram’s assets or to make funds or assets available to Boko Haram.  Any assets identified as owned or controlled by Boko Haram must be frozen and details of those assets immediately notified to the Australian Federal Police.

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