The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on Monday strongly condemning kidnapping by terrorists and consequently calling for the end of appeasing terrorists through ransom payments or political concessions.
United Kingdom Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who drafted the resolution, said in a statement:
It is … imperative that we take steps to ensure that kidnap for ransom is no longer perceived as a lucrative business model and that we eliminate it as a source of terrorist financing. We need to break that cycle.
The UN estimates that Islamist extremist groups have netted $105 million in ransom in the last three and a half years. The resolution "called on 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 ransoms."
The resolution does not create any new legal obligations, and a 2001 resolution already prohibits member states from paying ransoms. On top of that, the United Nations has not clearly defined what a terrorist is.
Some European nations still pay ransoms in order to free hostages. According to Reuters, France has sworn off the practice publicly, but suspicion that it still pays ransoms is a source of tension with the United States.