22 August 2008 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene a symposium on supporting victims of terrorism – the first of its kind at the United Nations – next month in New York.
UN spokesperson Marie Okabe said that the day-long forum seeks to help Member States to stand as one to support the victims of terrorism and to encourage civil society’s involvement in a global campaign against the scourge, as laid out in the General Assembly’s 2006 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
That strategy, the first global and common approach to tackle terrorism, called for national systems of assistance to be created to address the needs of victims and their families.
Through the symposium, the Secretary-General seeks to tackle terrorism by supporting its victims. Member States will have the opportunity to share their experiences, while victims can express their needs and views.
“The focus here is not on politics – the Strategy is clear that terrorism is unacceptable,” Ms. Okabe said. “The focus of this event is solely on the victims and how states, international organizations and civil society can better address their needs.”
Victims, civil society, journalists, regional organizations and all Member States will be invited to the event, which has so far received financial support from Spain, the United Kingdom and Colombia, to be held at UN Headquarters.
“Participants will come from all regions, cultures and religions, representing a diversity of terror-victim experiences and have a record of constructive engagement with governments and civil society in support of victims,” the spokesperson told reporters.
Some 13 universal anti-terrorism conventions and three protocols identifying acts of terrorism will be used as benchmarks for selecting participants at the symposium, and invitations will be made based on consultations with victims’ groups, civil society and Member States.
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