Issue: The situation of terrorist hostage taking Position: Chair of General Assembly Committee 1
Hostage Taking incidences vary around the world with perpetrators ranging from armed militant groups and individuals to members of workforces holding management captive in labour disputes. Often in these situations, companies or families are not in a position to control the resolution of the situation as the outcome rests in the hands of local law enforcement and the government. But they can still manage elements of the response to the crisis to help safeguard the lives of those involved.
Terrorism can take many forms, all with different rates of frequency and preference among terrorists. Acts of bombing and assassination may rank high consistently, while hostage taking rests much lower on the scale (Antokol 1990: 189). Despite its relative lack of frequency however, hostage taking is an important form of terrorism, distinct from other forms. But, with so much destructive power available to terrorists, why should they need to take hostages? The answer is simple—media attention and money (Poland 1999: 169). The study of hostage situations must be considered a separate and distinct form of terrorism requiring independent examination, due to the following reasons.
Firstly, a hostage situation can drag on for many days, and the outcome remains in doubt (Antokol 1990: 58). Hostage taking for ransom is one of the most profitable sources of funding for terrorist groups. There are always plenty of potential hostage-victims available and never enough security to protect them all (Poland 1999: 169).
Secondly, hostage taking creates a dramatic forum in which human life and death hang in the balance. The outcome is suspenseful; there are victims, weapons and emotions; and most importantly, there is a message for the world (Gladis 1979: 11). When considering the continuing drama of a hostage situation and the visual
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