Incitement to commit terrorist acts and violent extremism, the focus of regional workshop in East Africa
Over recent years, incitement to commit terrorist acts, extremism and radicalization leading to violence have emerged as issues of serious concern to the international community. "The advocacy of extremist views poses a real danger to communities around the world," said Mike Smith, head of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), at a regional workshop on incitement and violent extremism held in Nairobi last week.
Confronting the threat is difficult. "While acts of terrorism are brutally simple in their shocking destruction of innocent life, the processes that lead to acts of terrorism are often quite complex," said Mr. Smith. He added that understanding the factors conducive to terrorism could help States identify ways to prevent individuals from acting on their "deadly, horrific impulses."
The Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate recommend developing national comprehensive strategies that include countering incitement motivated by extremism and intolerance. In doing so, “we need to be smart and innovative,” said Mr. Smith. Speaking at the first regional workshop on the implementation of resolution 1624, held in Nairobi from 29 November to 1 December 2011, Mr. Smith said that a wide range of policy options should be considered.
Security Council resolution 1624 (2005) calls on States to prohibit and prevent incitement to commit terrorist acts. To be effective, States need to strengthen border control and international cooperation; enhance dialogue and understanding among civilizations; counter incitement; and prevent the subversion of educational, cultural and religious institutions by terrorists and their supporters. The resolutions stresses that any measures taken to combat incitement must respect all human rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression, and the rule of law.
Assisting States in implementing the resolution is a priority for the Committee and CTED. Regional workshops provide an opportunity for the United Nations to build the capacity of States to respond to the threat of terrorism and for participants to share experiences, good practices and challenges. Representatives of 9 East African States, international and regional organizations, and local civil society came together in Nairobi to that end. Participants identified elements that could form part of comprehensive and integrated national counter-terrorism strategies, as well as institutional and practical measures to implement them. National coordination with broad participation is a key factor, as is the effective use of limited resources. Periodic reviews and evaluations would also help States in East Africa to implement resolution 1624.
Additional workshops will be organized around the world in the next two years. Another tool CTED will distribute widely in the coming months is its first Global Implementation Survey of resolution 1624, a publication that presents strengths and vulnerabilities by region and provides recommendations for future action.