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   Terrorist Organisations
Encyclopaedia of Terrorism
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Terrorism in the 20th century
Drug trafficking and terrorism
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Drug Trafficking and Terrorist Organizations

All terrorist organizations need to raise funds to sustain their violent activities and resort to illegal means to finance their illegal acts. Drug trafficking comes at the top of this list of illegal money raising activities, followed by robbery, extortion, kidnapping, blackmailing and arms smuggling.

In recent years it has become increasingly evident that terrorism and drug trafficking are intertwined. The terms "narco-terrorism" and "narco-terrorists" have started being used to describe this interface between terrorist organizations and narcotics smugglers. This fact is illustrated by certain international documents. For instance, the UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic In Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988) recognizes the links between illicit drug traffic and other organized criminal activities which undermine the stability, security and legitimacy of sovereign states.

Paragraph 5 of the UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)’s 1992 report points out that "illicit cultivation of narcotic plants and illicit trafficking in drugs continue to be a threat to the political, economic and social stability of several countries. Links appear to exist between illicit cultivation and drug trafficking and the activities of subversive organizations in some countries."

The 1993 INCB report draws attention to the organic connections between drug cartels and terrorist organizations, and also to the globalization of drug smuggling. The successive INBC reports point out that these drug cartels concentrate their activities in ethnically and economically troubled regions of the world. It is no coincidence that terrorist organizations thrive in the very same regions.

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights (25 June 1993) stresses that "the acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as linkage in some countries to drug trafficking are activities aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy, threatening territorial integrity, security of states and destabilizing legitimately constituted Governments, and the international community should take the necessary steps to enhance cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism."

The Final Communique of the Council of Europe Pompidou Group 2nd Pan-European Ministerial Conference (Strasbourg, 4 February 1994) underlines the fact that "considering the continuous increase in and the spread of drug trafficking incidents, the involvement of violent organizations in such activities constitute a serious threat to the contemporary society" (Art.9), and thus, "it is vital for the security forces to combat terrorism effectively" (Art.15).

The UN Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted at the 49th session of the General Assembly, underlines the concern by the international community at the growing and dangerous links between terrorists groups, drug traffickers and their paramilitary gangs which have resorted to all types of violence, thus endangering the constitutional order of States and violating basic human rights. This Declaration also emphasizes the desirability of closer cooperation and coordination among States in combating crimes closely connected with terrorism, including drug trafficking, unlawful arms trade, money laundering and smuggling of nuclear and other potentially deadly materials.


Terrorist Organisations
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
* al-Qa'ida (Al-Qaeda)
Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
Aum Shinrikyo
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)
Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
* Hizballah
Japanese Red Army (JRA)
Kach and Kahane Chai
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE)
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO)
National Liberation Army (ELN)
Palestine Islamic Jihad-Shaqaqi Faction (PIJ)
Palestine Liberation Front-Abu Abbas Faction (PLF)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November)
Revolutionary People's Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C)
Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA)
Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)
Usama Bin Laden
Ramzi Yousef
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