Deputy Secretary-General, Islamic Scholar, Microsoft Executive Launch Day-long Open Debate on Countering Terrorist Narratives
Holding a day-long open debate on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, the Security Council today requested that the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee present a proposal for a “comprehensive international framework” to counter terrorist narratives used in recruitment and incitement to violent acts.
The request was contained in a presidential statement issued by the 15-member Council, which called, specifically, for the Committee to recommend guidelines and good practices to that end by 30 April 2017. The Council noted with concern that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities crafted distorted narratives based on misinterpretation and misrepresentation of religion to justify violence.
It proposed that the international community consider a number of concrete actions, such as developing a counter-narrative campaign to encourage and amplify those actively denouncing terrorism. Other proposed actions included developing the most effective means to counter terrorist propaganda, incitement and recruitment, including through the Internet, and raising public awareness of counter-terrorist narratives, including through education.
In opening remarks before the debate, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said terrorists were exploiting religious beliefs in order to incite hatred and violence, while dividing and polarizing societies. “Terrorist bombs aim to devastate more than human lives,” he said, adding that they also targeted humanity’s common values and sought to spread fear.
Mohi el-Din Afifi, Secretary-General of Al Azhar Islamic Research Academy, said the grim realities of the Middle East had surpassed all limits of religion and morals, with crimes being perpetrated in the name of Islam. The media had distorted that notion, he noted, emphasizing that, in reality, such crimes bore no relation to religious or human traditions.
Also addressing the Council, Steve Crown, Vice-President and Deputy General Counsel of the Microsoft Corporation, emphasized that technology would be used either for good or evil, noting that the industry was united in working to address terrorist abuses of its services.
More than 70 speakers took the floor during the day-long debate, with many expressing support for the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, presented to the General Assembly in January. Some described national approaches to combating extremist ideologies, while underscoring that no single country could succeed on its own, given the scale and nature of the threat.
“To defeat a network, we need a network,” said the United Kingdom’s representative, joining the plurality of voices calling for technology companies to become partners in helping to shut down the cyberspace front lines of terrorist recruitment and incitement. Urging all States to implement the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action, he commended partnerships attacking Da’esh propaganda, including one multilateral effort using Twitter as a platform.
Malaysia’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs rejected any association of terrorism with any one religion, nationality or ethic group, emphasizing nevertheless that, “as Muslims, we should not be in denial”. There was a critical need to address the exploitation of Islam by terrorist groups. True Muslims did not accept ideologies espousing hatred, wanton violence and destruction.
Kuwait’s representative echoed that sentiment on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), saying the organization was extremely disturbed that terrorist groups were increasingly exploiting cyber platforms to spread their messages of hate and disseminate their distorted interpretations of the Holy Quran. It was of the utmost importance that States shut down such media platforms while also engaging communities in countering terrorist narratives and propaganda.
In similar vein, Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs spotlighted a number of her country’s efforts to counter online terrorist recruitment. They included YouTube having taken down 14 million videos since 2014, Facebook having received and reviewed 1 million user notifications per week about violations of its rules and Twitter having recently closed about 2,000 ISIL-related accounts.
The Russian Federation’s representative emphasized the importance of a Security Council free of double standards and that did not distinguish between “good” and “bad” terrorists, saying it was fundamentally important that it focus on combating radicalization and incitement to terrorism.
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s representative blamed violent foreign interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria for having crippled and collapsed the political systems in those countries, saying the resulting vacuums had allowed extremists to move in. As a result, entire societies had known no way of life other than war for the last 15 years, and their economies, ravaged by interventionist forces, had eradicated hope for young generations, he noted.
Senegal’s representative warned that the Sahara/Sahel region faced terrorism, fuelled by ignorance and poverty, which was attempting to take hold of whole swathes of territory while undermining existing States. Following the bloody attacks that had struck West Africa, States of the subregion had met to strengthen relations among their respective security services, among other measures.
It was those very youth, many speakers noted, who could play a proactive role in countering violent extremism, with a number of them pointing to sustainable development and good governance as means by which to address the root causes of violent extremism, including poverty, disenfranchisement and economic marginalization — particularly among young people.
Also speaking today were ministers and other high-ranking officials representing Egypt, New Zealand, United States, Spain, Japan, China, France, Ukraine, Angola, Uruguay, Netherlands, Argentina, Sweden, Somalia, Italy, Maldives, Denmark, Iraq, Israel, Colombia, Pakistan, India, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Belgium, Syria, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Norway, Canada, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bangladesh, Republic of Korea, Qatar, Georgia, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Djibouti, Costa Rica, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Cambodia, Thailand (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Poland, Sudan, Cuba, Slovenia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Afghanistan, Haiti, Bahrain and Myanmar, as well as the Holy See, State of Palestine, European Union, International Organization of La Francophonie and the League of Arab States.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 7:50 p.m.
JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, noted that the world had mourned fallen soldiers, police and peacekeepers, as well as a tragically high number of civilians due to terrorist acts. Terrorist groups were exploiting religious beliefs in order to incite hatred and violence and to cause division and polarization in societies. They blatantly challenged the values enshrined in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the world’s shared pursuit of peace, justice and human dignity. “Terrorist bombs aim to devastate more than human lives,” he said, adding that they also targeted humanity’s common values and sought to spread fear.
He went on to emphasize that there was a great deal of legitimate concern about young people falling prey to terrorist narratives and ideologies. “We know that young people may be vulnerable to the lure of terrorists, offering them a sense of belonging, a salary and a promise of glory.” However, those promises were patently false, and young people were capable of discerning the truth and recognizing siren songs. There was no one better than a peer, a friend or a family member to help foster a sense of belonging, generate mutual respect and offer a home to young people. Calling on Council members to turn resolution 2250 (2015) into practice, he urged investment of material resources in youth and their meaningful political empowerment. “Instead of viewing young people as part of the problem, we must harness their immense potential to forge solutions,” he stressed.
Young people had superior communication skills, extensive social media networks and often more influential voices than their elders, he continued, adding that, in order to counter terrorist narratives, it would be critical to motivate and mobilize that generation of youth — the largest in history — to amplify the international community’s message of harmony. Noting that the Secretary-General had repeatedly stressed that terrorism and violent extremism were not related to any single ethnic group, nationality or religion, and that he had called for a practical and comprehensive approach to respond to the complex factors which drove people to violent extremism, he said false and nefarious narratives must be countered with compelling alternative visions backed by tangible opportunities for meaningful and constructive engagement.
He went on to underline the need to listen carefully to affected communities and to engage them at the grass-roots level, where community and faith leaders, women and young people were on the front lines, standing up to violent extremists. The protection of free media was also a defence against terrorist narratives, and there must be no arbitrary or excessive punishment against people who were simply expressing opinions. Terrorists aimed to create a climate of fear and hysteria where human rights were suppressed, and the international community must respond by adamantly preserving its common values, amplifying moderate voices and enabling individual freedom, he said. Indeed, violating human rights in the name of countering extremism would give terrorists their best recruiting tools, while marginalizing or demonizing certain groups would feed the “us against them” mentality that was one of the gravest threats in the world today.
MOHI EL-DIN AFIFI, Secretary-General of Al Azhar Islamic Research Academy, said the grim realities in the Middle East had surpassed all limits of religion and morals, with crimes being perpetrated in the name of Islam. The media had distorted that notion, he emphasized, adding that, in reality, such crimes had no relation to religious or human traditions. Islam taught mercy and dignity for the humanity of all living beings on Earth as part of a single family, he stressed.
Al Azhar Islamic Research Academy worked to combat those terrorist organizations that threatened peace with their deviant and destructive ideologies, he continued. Its efforts included providing education through scholarships, he continued. Al Azhar hosted 40,000 students from 130 countries, and placed an emphasis on the pluralism of religion. It was also working with communities in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, besides partnering globally with member organizations to spread international peace. Peace convoys had taken its efforts to 15 nations, and they included discussion and refutation of extremist ideas while fostering dialogue to support the involvement of young people in politics and society, and protecting them against damaging ideologies.
STEVE CROWN, Vice-President and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft Corporation, said that, for the Internet industry, the scale of the terrorist challenge was daunting. It was known from public sources that thousands of terrorist Internet accounts refused to die; as one was taken down, another sprang up in its place. There had been 7,500 tweets within 15 minutes of the Paris attacks, and within two weeks, there had been 1 million Internet views, many praising the attacks, he recalled. In fact, another company in the technology sector had noted that its 1.6 billion users submitted 1 million reports of objectionable postings every day across all content categories. “If there were an elegant solution, industry would have adopted it,” he said, adding that there was no “silver bullet” to stop terrorists using the Internet.
He went on to emphasize that terrorist use of Internet platforms was a complicated topic. Like fire, gunpowder and the printing press, any technology could be used for either good or evil. Since the Internet industry was built on the idea that communications could unleash human potential, Microsoft’s mission was to empower every person on the planet. Other companies in the sector, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, differed from each other and competed fiercely at times, but they came together when Internet platforms were abused. Perhaps the best example was the unity displayed in combating child sex abuse materials, he said. Similarly, the industry was united in working to address terrorist abuse of technology services. Describing public-private partnerships as the appropriate response, he stressed the need for the international community to work together in a coordinated and transparent way.
However, there was no universally accepted definition of terrorism or extremism at the international or regional level, he pointed out. While definitional lines were hard to draw, the international community could agree broadly on harmful actors, he said, emphasizing that dialogue and learning was the path to success. As actors explored alternatives, including the use of counter-narratives, they must respect the rule of law and international law, he underlined. Furthermore, there were opportunities to improve efficiency and transparency measures so that Governments could more effectively work with companies to pursue criminal investigations. The rule of law and the promotion of human rights were critical for Microsoft, he stressed, pointing out that it published a global human rights statement in order to ensure the right approach to doing business. As actors worked together across sectors, it was essential that they have an open discussion and explore new and improved means of addressing misuse of information and technology platforms. “We need to admit what we do not know,” he said, underscoring the need to focus on taking action and learning from experience.
SAMEH HASSAN SHOKRY SELIM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt and Council President for May, said the current flawed international system had seen a decreasing concept of the State in the Middle East, with terrorist groups seeking to fill the authority vacuum. The conflict in Syria must end through cooperation between and the Security Council and member countries of the International Syria Support Group. In Africa, Boko Haram and Da’esh controlled parts of the continent, and the failure to take action on the lingering Arab-Israeli conflict had only deepened and ingrained the main factors behind instability and the rise of terrorism in the Middle East. Combating global terrorism required addressing its root causes, with the international community dealing firmly with countries and parties providing military, financial and political support to terrorist groups that espoused the same basic ideology that warped Islam’s principles of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and respect for human rights.
Fighting terrorism also required addressing the use by those groups of social media while confronting the phenomenon of Islamophobia, he continued. The way to tackle those problems included building upon the existing efforts of moderate religious institutions, reaffirming that terrorism was not linked to any religion, culture or people, and passing the necessary national legislation to criminalize the spreading of terrorist messages and ideologies without infringing upon the freedom of expression. It was equally important to highlight the important role that media and civil society could play in combating such messages. “Our voice in the face of terrorism must be firm and united,” he emphasized. “And our message must be clear that they are enemies of humanity, that they represent no religion… that their downfall is at hand. Let us work together to elevate the voice of truth, justice and tolerance above the voice of terrorism, extremism and hate.”
MURRAY MCCULLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, said terrorism had become a global enterprise, exported through modern technology and sophisticated social media. Expressing support for the four pillars of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he said the Security Council had a central role to play in guiding a comprehensive international response. The Council could also contribute by improving its conflict-prevention and conflict-resolution capacities. Establishing inclusive governance was critical to fighting extremist ideologies, which was true in Iraq, Afghanistan and all countries, he said, emphasizing that, moving forward, Governments must be increasingly active and innovative in their counter-terrorism strategies, with cooperation across such areas as policing and border control being critically important.
SAMANTHA POWER (United States) recalled that, during her recent visit to Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria, victims of Boko Haram had described the horrors of child abductions and violence. Efforts to combat terrorism must embrace legal action without infringing upon freedom of expression. Such a strategy should focus on exposing the lies that underpinned terrorist narratives through joint efforts alongside religious and civil society organizations, with Governments playing a supporting role by providing training. “The truth is on our side,” she said, emphasizing that it was counterproductive to treat media as enemies of the State. The root causes that led individuals and communities to embrace terrorist narratives must be closely examined, she said, pointing out that recruitment appeals sometimes had no religious element, but entailed benefits instead. She cited a case in the United States in which a woman had said that the promise of camaraderie had made joining Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) attractive, and recalling an account shared with Human Rights Watch by an imam in Mali, according to which communities were drawn to terrorist groups by some of the basic services they provided.
REEZAL MERICAN NAINA MERICAN, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, associated himself with statements to be delivered on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Describing past international efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism, he said that while they had seen varying degrees of success, the international community could and must do more. Rejecting any association of terrorism with any one religion, nationality or ethic group, he said nevertheless that, “as Muslims, we should not be in denial”, emphasizing the critical need to address the exploitation of Islam by terrorist groups. Peace was the very definition of Islam, he said, strongly denouncing claims by terrorists that the religion sanctioned their barbarity. True Muslims did not accept ideologies that espoused hatred, wanton violence and destruction. For those who were marginalized, disenchanted or disenfranchised, an ideology could be a powerful thing, he said, stressing that countering terrorist narratives meant removing the root causes of marginalization, disenchantment and disenfranchisement, while exposing the fallacy of terrorist narratives. Part of Malaysia’s effort to counter the extremist narrative was, therefore, to engage with religious and community leaders in spreading accurate messages about Islam, he said.
IGNACIO YBÁÑEZ, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, said the world had awoken today to news of a fresh terrorist attack in Baghdad that had killed more than 60 people. Emphasizing that States bore the obligation to cut off the propaganda of violent extremists, including by criminalizing any incitement to terrorism, he said appropriate legislation and robust action were needed to prevent similar behaviour in the sphere of information and communications and technologies (ICTs). Internet service providers should be engaged to ensure that extremist propaganda was taken down. Noting that the task of preventing and combating terrorism would be a lengthy one, he stressed the need to engage community and faith leaders, families, as well as youth, women and civil society organizations. Victims of terrorism could also play a critical role by giving a human face to the repercussions of terrorism. In the area of prevention, he pointed out that his country was a member of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and attached great importance to dialogue as a tool for combating violent extremism. In that regard, Spain proposed the creation of a platform of religious leaders for peace, he said, noting that, while there was a divergence of opinions on how to combat the narratives of violent extremism, it was nevertheless important to strengthen agreement on practical actions that could be taken.
SHINSUKE SUGIYAMA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, emphasized the importance of utilizing all tools in the fight against terrorism, saying the international community must step up its efforts and allocate more resources to countering the factors contributing to terrorism and violent extremism. While they had nothing to do with any religion, nationality and civilization, terrorist groups used based their narratives on their own distorted interpretations so as to justify their ideas and gather support. Japan had sponsored a workshop for Iraqi officials in February 2015, where victims of terrorism and family members of ISIL fighters had been given the opportunity to share their personal experiences and thoughts. In addition, the country would host the G7 Summit meeting at the end of May and take the leadership role in preparing an action plan on countering terrorism and violent extremism, he said, expressing hope that it would be adopted in two weeks.
LIU JIEYI (China) said it was essential to root out the breeding ground of terrorism, including through education and other means to address the distortion of religious doctrines and the incitement of hatred and violence. Young people in some countries had been swayed to commit terrorist acts, which warranted the international community’s close attention, which should eradicate the roots of extremist ideologies by, among other measures, closing down institutions that bred hate. Cutting off channels for spreading hatred was another measure, he said, adding that States must shut down some social media networks. Cooperation must be enhanced, with the primary responsibility of national Governments clarified, and all parties must fully implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, he emphasized. Besides efforts to bolster border control, other tools must include promoting dialogue among civilizations and building a new type of international relations that would foster an environment of tolerance. China’s counter-terrorism efforts included new legislation promoting international cooperation in that regard, he said.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said the importance of civil society partnerships in a post-Westphalian world had been demonstrated by the Council’s invitation to the speaker representing the Microsoft Corporation. Amid the realities of foreign terrorist fighters and terrorists’ efforts to radicalize youth, he noted, groups such as Da’esh used refined social media recruitment techniques to paint a surreal image of themselves by deceiving young people with promises of a future and an ideal, while they offered only barbarism and death. To combat that trend, France had taken actions aimed at delegitimizing the propaganda of Da’esh. With full respect for fundamental freedoms, France had taken down websites propagating hatred and terrorism, he said. For its part, the United Nations had a major role to play in combating terrorism, defining the fight against Da’esh and mobilizing efforts involving the international community and civil society.
MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said the Internet had become another front line in the fight against terrorism. Just as the Microsoft and United Nations brands were recognizable and known, so was the Da’esh brand, which had a terrifying ability to connect and persuade people to join its self-proclaimed “new society”, largely through recruitment drives over the Internet and social media. Citing examples of United Kingdom citizens joining Da’esh in Syria, he said responses must harness the expertise of local communities, religious leaders and civil society in countering negative narratives. Technology companies must become partners in helping to shut down the cyberspace front lines and amplifying voices that undermined the Da’esh brand. “To defeat a network, we need a network,” he said, emphasizing the unique ability of the United Nations to build short- and longer-term resilience to terrorism. Calling on all States to implement the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, he commended partnerships attacking Da’esh propaganda, including one multilateral effort using such platforms as Twitter.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said the recent growth of radicalism had been fed and fuelled by terrorist propaganda, which constantly took on new shapes and adapted to modern technology. Effective response recipes were needed to combat that “despicable and perverted” narrative, he said, calling on Member States to erect a bulwark against terrorist ideologies. Emphasizing the need for a Security Council free of double standards and that did not distinguish between “good” and “bad” terrorists, he said it was of fundamental importance that it focus on combating radicalization and incitement to terrorism. While primary responsibility lay with States, anti-radicalization and anti-incitement strategies must also involve non-governmental organizations, civil society, media and the business community. The Russian Federation’s current efforts in that regard focused on engaging religious and community leaders, while working to increase interfaith and inter-ethnic trust, especially among young people in the Caucasus, he said, adding that his country had also introduced school curricula focused on the foundations of religion and enlightened ethics.
FODÉ SECK (Senegal), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the OIC, said violent extremism was often based on an erroneous interpretation of Islam. Calling on Member States to help to shatter that perverted discourse, he noted that such narratives had enabled ISIL/Da’esh to recruit thousands, especially through the Internet. The Sahara/Sahel region faced terrorism fuelled by ignorance and poverty that was attempting to take hold of whole swathes of territory while undermining existing States, he said. That required the urgent adoption of countermeasures. Senegal’s own approach was based on cooperation and rapid response, as well as education, information, communication, awareness-raising and dialogue among cultures and religions. Given the scale of the threat, however, no single country could combat terrorism on its own, he emphasized. In the wake of the wave of bloody attacks that had struck West Africa, States of the subregion had met to coordinate their actions to strengthen relations among their respective security services, the holding of regular meetings to provide up-to-date information on terrorism, and to publish a monthly bulletin on terrorist acts of a criminal nature, he said, stressing the need to address the root causes of terrorism, and calling for preventive and dissuasive measures against exclusion and marginalization.
YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine), citing the significant absence of cohesive actions to counter the propaganda of violent extremists, called for the development of a comprehensive framework of concrete strategies aimed at consolidating all existing efforts and strengthening cooperation in that area. Such a strategy must include persuasive context-specific counter-narratives and messages to neutralize the influence of terrorists. The collective response should also focus on addressing underlying factors that provided opportunities for violent extremist and terrorist ideologies to spread and thrive, he said. Noting that States were obliged, under international law, to refrain from engaging in — and must work to prevent — acts of terrorism, he noted that his country had suffered the aggression of its neighbour, the Russian Federation, for two years. That country had temporarily occupied and attempted to annex part of the Ukrainian territory, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, and continued its hostile and subversive action, including its support for terrorism in the Donbas region, he said. The international community should be alarmed by the Russian Federation’s use of “fierce, deceitful” propaganda, he added, emphasizing the need to address State propaganda of intolerance and hatred, as well as information wars that often formed part of a “hybrid warfare”.
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said the most disturbing global reality was the ability of terrorists to conquer and administer territory by exploiting religious beliefs, ethnic differences and political ideologies, which had led to the spread of violent extremism in vast regions. In addition to taking national and regional steps to combat that trend, Angola recognized that violent extremism was fuelled by poverty, corruption and disrespect for human rights, he said. The Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism stressed that national approaches must address the issue of foreign terrorist fighters by, among other things, ensuring that legal systems provided for the prosecution of “travel for terrorism”. Noting that young people were fundamental to combating terrorism, he said they should be targeted for awareness-raising prevention efforts and integrated into decision-making processes to step up initiatives for the eradication of poverty. The Security Council must play its crucial role in leading the international community in the struggle to uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter and the universal values of peace, justice and human dignity that extremism and terrorism were challenging in an unprecedented way, he emphasized.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said the root causes of terrorism must be tackled through a multidimensional approach, addressing issues that had impacted the Middle East and Africa in recent years. Violent foreign interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria had crippled and collapsed society and political systems in those countries, which represented the direct objective of the invading forces. The weakening of State institutions and the vacuum created by those invasions had displaced political groups, allowing extremists to move in, he said. Entire societies had known no other way of life than war over the last 15 years, living as they did in the breeding grounds of armed, militia or terrorist groups. Destroyed economies ravaged by interventionist forces had eradicated hope for young generations, he added. Emphasizing that terrorism should not be linked to any race, religion or peoples, he said nations that promoted violent non-State actors had only contributed to the downfall of Governments by supporting “puppets” of outside interests that had evolved into terrorist groups, as could be seen in the militias and other non-State armed actors financed and weaponized from abroad. As long as there was no explanation as to why such groups had transformed into terrorist organizations, and how they had been financed from abroad, there would be no long-term solution, he stressed, pointing out that deadly weapons flowed unfettered across the Middle East, and that more than 30,000 foreign fighters had entered Syria to fight alongside terrorists.
ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) said any act of terrorism was criminal and could never be justified, and that linking terrorism with any civilization or religion should be categorially rejected. Extremist groups wished to grasp the world’s attention and demonize certain religions so as to perpetuate the cycle of recruitment. “Destroying the messenger is a short-term goal, but destroying the message is a long-term goal,” he noted. In order to properly carry that out, it was critical to understand the root causes of extremism, and the international community could make progress on various fronts taking robust action against terrorism. Victims of all creeds and nationalities should be seen as international victims, he added. The international community therefore had a responsibility to foster a space in which it could counter narratives at the heart of terrorism. Global action must avoid duplication, he stressed. “If we are all on different pages, it gives rise to confusion.” Religious leaders played a crucial role in countering extremist ideology, and in countering terrorism, the international community must tread carefully so as not to limit the freedoms of expression, belief and the press. While emphasizing that Internet and other technology companies could not be held responsible for how terrorists used those tools to spread their hate, he said: “We cannot sit idly on our hands”, as terrorists recruited young people, calling for “messages of greater hope and a greater and brighter future”.
ALBERT KOENDERS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, said the debate was extremely timely owing to the recent terrorist attacks in Turkey, Côte d’Ivoire, Belgium, and today, Iraq. The attacks had tried to instil fear and panic, but they would not succeed. International cooperation was critical in countering extremism and providing an alternative narrative. “Nobody can do it alone,” he said, emphasizing the need to think globally, but act locally. Sharing information was one key element and “frankly, we need more trust among ourselves, our nations, our border-enforcement agents”. The Netherlands was working to streamline policies for the rehabilitation of former terrorists. Pointing out that messages were more effective when developed by the younger generations, he declared: “We need to acknowledge that we are trying to fight a modern battle with old weapons.” Urging a role for young people who had fled ISIS, he said teachers, business communities and even sport coaches must also get involved. Young people must be taught how to question the opinions they encountered. The Netherlands was working in Jordan and Morocco to bridge the gap between refugee and local communities. He said he did not much care for the term “counter-narrative”, which sounded quite defensive and reactive, adding that “positive narrative” was more proactive for young people, who needed Government help so they could be the voice of reason and uphold the rule of law. Young people must be taught to be critical thinkers, he added.
SUSANA MALCORRA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Argentina, strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, saying it constituted a big threat to international peace and security, human dignity, peaceful and civilized coexistence, democracy, and economic and social development. Expressing solidarity with those who had fallen victim to ISIL and associated groups, she emphasized that the threat of foreign terrorist fighters was a matter of concern for Latin America and the Caribbean region. It called for a unified approach as defensive security measures would not be enough on their own. Describing the fight against violent extremism as a priority for the Government of Argentina, she said it had created partnerships with service providers and the private sector to disseminate positive messages on various platforms.
MARGOT WALLSTRÖM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, aligning herself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union delegation, said the threat of terrorism was transnational and the response to it must therefore be multilateral. While there was a key role for regional cooperation and regional organizations, the United Nations was in a much better position to use its convening power in bringing together different organizations and mechanisms. “We need to team up with civil society, the media, religious and community leaders, social workers, faith-based organizations and business,” she said, noting that such unity would safeguard peaceful exchange and dialogue, which in turn would help reduce the appeal of to destructive discourses. There was need for more research into the psychology of violent extremism and how radicalization related to poverty, she said, pointing out that extremist organizations exploited the logic of terrorism feeding on grievance. Economic and social inequality, corruption and human rights violations were all part of the radicalization process, and must be tackled at the root, she emphasized. Racism, hatred, acts of violence based on Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Afro-phobia must be addressed forcefully. Indeed, targeting a certain religion, region, nationality or ethnic group played right into the hands of terrorist ideology, she noted, stressing that real dialogue, based on equality and dignity, was the best antidote to racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.
ABDUSALAM HADLIYEH OMER, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion of Somalia, said violent extremism was a truly dangerous issue that was must be countered effectively and quickly. The Government of Somalia was working with the United Nations, Arab League, OIC, African Union and the Anti-Da’esh Coalition to overcome terrorism. The international community must act jointly in executing a coherent and responsive plan that would safeguard citizens and bring an end to terrorism and violent extremism. Despite the misinterpretation of Islam by violent extremists, a central belief in Islamic teachings must be applied to defeat their fraudulent ideas, he emphasized, adding that such an approach must be based on tolerance, interfaith dialogue and education.
LILJA DÖGG ALFREÐSDÓTTIR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, said that some of the powerful new tools of modern life that terrorists were using to recruit young people into their ranks could be seen in responses that unveiled the breadth of such efforts, including the fact that YouTube had taken down 14 million videos since 2014, Facebook had received and reviewed 1 million user notifications per week about violations of its rules, and Twitter had closed approximately 2,000 ISIL-related accounts in recent months. There was no simple approach to identifying terrorists and nor was there a “silver bullet” solution to halt recruitment and radicalization. The world must act together for an internationally comprehensive approach to confront terrorist narratives and ideologies, she said. “We need to be honest about identifying the internal and external drivers of violent extremism and terrorism,” she emphasized, warning: “If we do not do this, then we will be fighting with one hand tied behind our back.”
VINCENZO AMENDOLA, Under-Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, associated himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union, saying that propaganda played a major role in the strategy of contemporary terrorist groups. The threat’s evolution confirmed the need to face it through a wide-ranging global response. Describing his country’s multidimensional contribution to that joint effort, he said Italy supported the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism and believed in the need to tackle its root causes, including the lack of socioeconomic opportunities, marginalization and discrimination, poor governance and violations of human rights. There was also need for full implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 2250 (2015) on engagement with youth and resolution 2178 (2014) on foreign terrorist fighters. It was also critical to go beyond counter-narratives to develop a positive message of tolerance and inclusion through proactive outreach, to young people in particular. Culture and education were at the core of international action to prevent violent extremism, he said, adding that investing in education while protecting cultural heritage should be key components of joint international efforts to combat violent extremism.
ALI NASEER MOHAMED, Foreign Secretary of the Maldives, said terrorist groups used “psychological weaponry” to propagate their narratives and ideologies in recruiting fighters and supporters. It had more deep-rooted and lasting impacts, making it more complex to address and resolve. However, a greater amount of resources had been allocated to combat operations, and while they were important and necessary, the international community must recognize that defeating ideologies was the lynchpin of eliminating global terrorism. “We need to ask whether injustices, inequalities, racial and religious prejudices are giving terrorists an easy excuse to assault the principles we have cherished for centuries,” he said. Only a correct analysis of the situation would result in the development of the correct strategies and tools to eliminate the menace of terrorism. The Maldives had enacted counter-terrorism legislation in October 2015 to stop its citizens from engaging in terrorist activities, he said, adding that the law restricted the publication and distribution of any materials that could incite terrorist acts or propagate terrorist ideologies.
LONE DENCKER WISBORG, State Secretary for Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, associated herself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union, saying that her country had learned from its experience that managing imminent threats of terrorism must go hand in hand with long-term prevention strategies. “We know that violent extremism is more likely to take root when we fail to offer attractive alternatives to the distorted narratives offered by violent extremists.” Countering violent extremism required investing in preventive measures, including education and jobs, she said, emphasizing that societies must continue to focus on ensuring citizen participation, human rights and democracy. Nordic countries had launched several initiatives aimed at sharing experiences, prevention and rehabilitation, she said, noting that they had assisted Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq in their efforts to combat extremism and counter illicit funding flows. In order to reduce the appeal of ISIS to potential foreign terrorist fighters, Denmark supported initiatives to investigate and document war crimes and human rights abuses in Iraq and Syria, she said, adding that the country would remain committed to supporting United Nations efforts to counter extremism and terrorism.
ALAIN LE ROY, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, spoke on behalf of the European Union delegation, saying that the response to radicalization and recruitment to terrorism must be holistic, encompassing a broad range of policy areas and involving various stakeholders. It was important to work closely with women, young people, religious leaders and local associations as they were often better placed than institutional actors to develop effective counter-narratives to the propaganda of Da’esh. The European Union’s vision on radicalization and the fight against terrorism was reflected in the 2015 European Agenda on Security, he said, recalling that European Union Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos had launched the bloc’s Internet forum in December 2015. Ministers, Internet companies and civil society organizations had joined together to determine how to remove terrorist propaganda materials and spread alternative messages. Furthermore, the European Union was an active participant in the Anti-ISIL Coalition Working Group on Strategic Communications, and was following closely the work of the Anti-ISIL Strategic Communications Cell established by the United Kingdom.
GEORGES NAKSEU-NGUEFANG, Director of Political Affairs at the International Organization of La Francophonie, pointed out that terrorist networks were targeting francophone youth, while calling into question the promotion of democracy and the culture of diversity. The international community was dedicated to fighting hate speech, he said, noting that many conditions had led some young people to believe the extremist message. There was a deficit in governance and political representation, which had led to a breakdown of trust. There was very little space in which young people could express themselves. “They feel like their lives are not meaningful,” he said, calling for better integration of young people into political life and the exercise of power. Women’s representation in political life was also critical, as were spaces for open dialogue in public life and online. Freedom, equality, solidarity, diversity and peace were universal values that could counter extremism and terrorism, he said, reflecting also on the role of social media in dealing with the threat of terrorism. Journalists must provide a lens through which the public could understand extremism, and it was also important to emphasize education in social media and other communication tools.
BERNARDITO AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said that countering the narratives and ideologies of terrorist groups was a grave responsibility for all. Religious leaders must be at the forefront in delegitimizing the manipulation of faith and the distortion of sacred texts as a justification for violence. Given the strong nexus between religion and diplomacy, strengthening that connection would be a key step in confronting terrorism, he said, emphasizing the need to address its root causes. Noting that young people who joined terrorist organizations often came from poor immigrant families, disillusioned with the lack of integration and values in certain societies, he emphasized that Governments must engage with civil society organizations in addressing the risk of radicalization and in pursuing successful social integration.
MOHAMED ALI ALHAKIM (Iraq) expressed regret that more than 100 people had been killed today in car bomb attacks targeting Baghdad. Violent extremist ideologies were a direct threat to international peace and security that destabilized States and destroyed social cohesion, he said, emphasizing that the international community must identify its root causes and religious ideological foundations. Iraq called upon all to differentiate between freedom of thought and extremist ideologies.
DANNY DANON (Israel) said that today his country was observing Yom Hazikaron, the memorial day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, adding that, sadly, 127 names had been added to the list in 2016. The threat of terrorism was as old as Israel itself, he noted. “There is no one in Israel who doesn’t know the pain of a family member, or a friend, whose life was destroyed by the cruel hand of terror.” When it came to Israeli victims, there seemed always to be some excuse for terror, he said, adding that terrorism against Israel was not about its actions, but rather about its very existence and the values it represented. Hamas continued to build a terror base in Gaza while Hizbullah had transformed the villages of southern Lebanon into armed outposts of terror against Israel. Noting that some Member States had not only failed to condemn acts of terror against Israelis, but had even justified them, he stressed that those perpetuating such acts “are not freedom fighters, they are terrorists”. Like any group looking to expand their operations, they sought investors and backers. Iran continued to fund death and destruction across the Middle East and beyond, and time was long overdue for the Security Council to eliminate its fund for terror, which was fuelling violence in region and beyond.
MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ BLANCO (Colombia) said that his country had for years suffered great violence in which terrorism had been part of the action. It had compiled best practices for dealing with terrorist groups and would gladly share them with the international community. States must work with local communities and non-governmental organizations to counter all acts of terrorism, regardless of their motivation, he emphasized, adding that it was critically important to boost community resilience. Women must be included in that process, which would, by extension, enable them to play a larger role at the policy level. Young people must have access to education and employment, he said, highlighting also the fundamental role that media could play in informing the public about the tragic consequences of terrorism. Violence should never be used to settle grievances or disagreements, he said, stressing that Governments, international organizations and civil society must continue to support terrorism victims in their healing.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said that while individual Member States should do all in their power to address socioeconomic conditions and politico-religious factors at the national level, efforts must also be made to address the international drivers contributing to injustice, inequality, hatred and deprivation. Condoning foreign interventions and occupations, as well as denying people the right to self-determination provided fertile grounds for terrorist propaganda to take root, she said, adding that failure to prevent xenophobia, Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination had resulted in missed opportunities to counter the terrorist narrative. The unprecedented use of social media platforms by terrorists allowed them to engage young people, disseminate messages and mobilize recruits, she said, emphasizing the key importance of countering online radicalization and measures to prevent such groups from exploiting the digital space.
AHMED FATHALLA, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, emphasized the need to implement the relevant Council resolutions in countering threats to international peace and security, adding that strengthening existing tools would complement efforts to fight extremist ideologies. Noting that incitement to hatred had increased throughout the last decade, negatively affecting the Middle East, he said advances in technology should be used to build prosperity and ensure peaceful coexistence. There was need to address the root causes of extremist violence and terrorism using the available toolkits, and it was also crucial to prevent the financing of terrorism and the mobilization of terrorists on digital media, he stressed.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) voiced concern that the overwhelming proportion of foreign fighters comprised males between the mid-teens and the mid-20s in age. While emphasizing that the fight against terrorism was not a confrontation with any religion, but rather a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity, he said it was important to address the narrative of victimhood and conspiracy, as well as the denial of inconvenient facts inherent in terrorist ideologies. That would require building a wider social consensus against the inhumane actions and crimes committed by terrorists, he said, noting that the phenomenon of radicalized foreign or home-grown terrorism defied easy generalizations. Moderate views could be spread through education, civil society, opinion makers and political leadership, and the media also had a powerful role to play, but the misuse of social media must be monitored carefully, with due safeguards for freedom of expression.
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) noted that terrorist groups attracted recruits by offering them a sense of purpose, belonging and identity that they had failed to acquire elsewhere. “We cannot hold a responsibility to protect civilians plagued by terrorist attacks and human rights violations in regions distant from our homes, and then ignore the victims’ plight when they knock on our doors seeking refuge,” he said. Victims in one country were no less deserving of attention than those in another, and civilian casualties of counter-terrorism efforts were no less tragic. The aim of terrorist groups was to provoke Governments into overreacting in order to exploit narratives of oppression, he said. Compliance with international law was a pre-requisite for effective counter-terrorism efforts, he said, adding that Internet and social media were powerful tools for channelling messages of respect and dialogue. Brazil also called for a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which would have a powerful effect in undermining the narratives of terrorist groups.
GHOLAM HOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran) said violent extremism was the most critical challenge currently facing the Middle East. Syria and Iraq were among those nations that had borne the brunt of the atrocities and barbarity carried out by extremist groups, and it was evident that the Takfiri ideology, which had nothing to do with Islam, was at the very core of the predicament now confronting the world. For many decades, the proponents of that perverse ideology had targeted individuals susceptible to their schemes, bankrolled them and provided them with all necessary cover and support, he said, adding that the end result had been atrocities, including rape, slavery, burnings and beheadings. The international community must be mindful of the strong impact of Iraq’s recent bloody history on the formation and growth of modern-day violent extremist groups. Political and military interventions in the region, particularly in the last decade, had exacerbated the situation and created an enormously fertile breeding ground for extremists. Defeating violent extremism would require a war fought first and foremost on a cultural and ideological front, he emphasized. Addressing the contributing factors that had helped to create space for extremism — including dictatorship, poverty, corruption, discrimination and occupation, such as that taking place on Palestinian lands — would be crucial.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), associating himself with statements to be delivered on behalf of the OIC and ASEAN, said that de-radicalization efforts in his country focused on dialogue, empowerment and reintegration. Convicted terrorists received counselling from experts in religion and psychology, as well as education to facilitate their reintegration after serving their sentences. It was important to guard against terrorists spreading their ideologies in prisons, he said, noting that counter-radicalization programmes provided the public with alternate narratives involving many stakeholders while ensuring extensive attention to monitoring the Internet. Besides misinterpretation of religion, individual causes of radicalization must be taken into account, as should collective grievances and victimization. In that regard, efforts to ensure respect for human rights and to strengthen good governance were crucial for effective counter-terrorism action, emphasizing the importance of sharing best practices in all such areas so as to strengthen the capacities of all States.
BÉNÉDICTE FRANKINET (Belgium) said the terror attacks carried out in his own country, as well as those in France, Côte d’Ivoire and Turkey had posed a great threat to international peace and security. Warning against terrorist recruiters, he emphasized the need to persuade extremists and their followers through counter-narrative efforts. While doing so, it was essential to acknowledge that each social group had its own sensitivities that required tailored approaches. Furthermore, it was crucial to compose positive messages and strengthen resilience against radical ideas. The Government of Belgium had developed a project that sought to train local representatives in actions to counter terrorist and extremist ideologies.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said it had been five years since the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter had been “assassinated”. Some States had used various means to destroy Syria, including foreign terrorist fighters, mercenaries, misinformation and chemical weapons, he said, adding that the Erdogan regime in neighbouring Turkey was, in fact, one of those supporting terrorism. Expressing support for all sincere efforts to confront poisonous ideologies, he emphasized the need to combat terrorism without selectivity, stressing that the “so-called anti-Islamic State coalition” was neither credible nor serious in that task.
HARALD BRAUN (Germany) said terrorism was not new, and had been seen in Europe for centuries. What was new was the effortless way in which terrorists were recruited, he said, emphasizing the need for Governments to do more in terms of promoting inclusive dialogue. Religious leaders and faith-based initiatives could play an important role in promoting tolerance and countering radicalization, he said, citing the German Islam Conference. The fight against ISIL currently topped Germany’s counter-terrorism agenda, and the country was confident that the military campaign against the extremist group would succeed. However, it was important that liberated areas not become breeding grounds for terrorism in the future, he stressed. “We have to help quickly stabilize these regions and restore trust and confidence among the population.”
GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) said as terrorist groups expanded their reach and influence, it was evident that many found their narratives and tactics appealing. Countering that appeal and preventing the spread of violent ideology was essential to their long-term defeat and a priority for Australia. Recognizing that pathways to racialization were complex and that each individual experienced a unique driver to violent extremism, she emphasized that there was no single solution. Australia’s efforts aimed to reduce the reach and appeal of extremist narratives, and the Government did that by limiting online access to their propaganda by removing their content and digital advertising, while undermining the appeal of terrorist messages through community-led counter-narrative activity. Australia undertook such efforts in collaboration with civil society, the ICT industry to compete with the “pace and scale” of violent extremist content dissemination, she said, recalling that, in 2015, the country had hosted a regional summit on countering violent extremism. Improved partnerships and technical capability of grass-roots organizations, as well as the development of counter-messaging resources tailored to South-East Asia had been among its outcomes.
MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa) said his country continued to support a multifaceted, comprehensive approach to dealing with terrorism. Violent extremism could neither be defeated militarily nor be dealt with solely through the use of force. There was an urgent need to understand and address the conditions and contexts that made terrorism an attractive option, he said, emphasizing that education remained critical, as did, the elimination of inequalities and working with disadvantaged segments of society, particularly young people. There was no “one-size-fits-all” approach to countering the threat, he said. Rather it was up to each subregion and country to take its own specific conditions into account while undertaking appropriate actions in accordance with international law. Terrorism should not be associated with any religion or civilization, he added, welcoming efforts to promote tolerance, diversity and understanding among peoples and religions.
BØRGE BRENDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, said it was unfortunate that threats to international peace and security were more complex than ever, emphasizing that they must be defeated at all levels and with every possible available tool. When and where necessary, the international community must use military means, as in Syria and Iraq, he said. At the same time, it was essential to stop the flow of financing and foreign fighters, improve existing development policies, strengthen fragile States and offer young people education and jobs. The core values of peace, tolerance, democracy, human rights and rule of law were what terrorists were fighting, he said, adding: “If we want to defeat terrorism, we must defend the values that gave birth to this assembly 70 years ago.” For its own part, Norway had launched two civil society networks — YouthCan, a network of young people working together against violent extremism, as well as an alliance of women’s organizations.
MARC-ANDRÉ BLANCHARD (Canada) said that effective strategies aimed at countering terrorist narratives required meaningful partnerships with the private sector and civil society. Terrorist groups were using the Internet effectively to advance their aims and the content appealed to some in the younger generation. Governments must forge partnerships with Internet-based companies and online communities in order to help create open and safe places for debate, he said, noting that Government efforts to counter radical messages could sometimes be ineffective and even counterproductive, due in large part to “credibility gaps” with target audiences. Diversity and inclusion were crucial to healthy and prosperous societies that were resilient against extremism, he said, noting that Canada had taken in 25,000 Syrian refugees, and still more would follow. “We are not perfect, but we believe that Canada has a lot to contribute to the international community,” he said, urging Governments to encourage social and political dialogue that would undermined the narratives spun by terrorists, spearhead the sharing of research, engage young people and empower the marginalized. Canada would also do more at the global level to engage communities in preventing the spread of violent extremism.
MACHARIA KAMAU (Kenya) said extremist groups were the main protagonists in most international conflicts, with violent movements hiding behind religion to pursue political ends. In Kenya, the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaida affiliate, used a Salafi-jihadi ideology arrived at through selective reading of Islamic texts and history to justify terrorism. Describing global strategies to combat terror as manifestly weak, he said they had failed adequately to address frustrations resulting mainly from economic injustice, conflict, human rights violations and social inequalities. Kenya’s efforts aimed to facilitate an inclusive and total rejection of extremist ideologies, he said, adding that lessons learned included the need to prevent the outbreak of conflict and to resolve existing ones, and to improve national and regional coordination by sharing information and best practices. It was important to invest in de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration, he said, urging Governments to formulate inclusive policies in addressing socioeconomic and political drivers behind violent extremist narratives. Adequate resourcing and capacity-building were critical at all levels, alongside investment in education programmes and early-warning systems to ensure timely corrective interventions, he said.
MANSOUR AYYAD AL OTAIBI (Kuwait), speaking on behalf of the OIC, emphasized that no nation, regardless of its ethno-religious identity, geographical location, socioeconomic conditions and political stance, was immune to the growing threat of terrorism. Fighting it required depriving terrorist groups of legitimacy in the eyes of their primary supporters. There was no such thing as a “religiously inspired terrorist group”, since no religion either condoned or inspired terrorism, but there were terrorist groups that exploited religion. As reflected in numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, the OIC member States believed that terrorism could not be associated with any religion, ethnicity, race or religion, he said, adding that the organization was extremely disturbed by the fact that terrorist groups were increasingly exploiting cyber platforms to spread their messages of hate and disseminate their distorted interpretations of the Holy Quran. It was therefore of utmost importance that States identify and shut down such media platforms while also engaging with communities to counter terrorist narratives and propaganda.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan) said long-term approaches to tackling terrorism should consider several measures, among them exposing false notions, improving public diplomacy and partnering with de-radicalized individuals. Efforts were needed to continue engaging young people, and much had indeed been done in families, schools, communities and prisons, he noted. Kazakhstan had striven to bridge the ever-growing clash of civilizations, religions and cultures, he said, adding that the world needed to be engaged in a drive to identify ways to promote peace and heal divisiveness. President Nursultan Nazarbayev had written the Manifesto, a new security paradigm on war and peace, proposing a global coalition of States for peace, stability, trust and security that would end current conflicts that were fuelling radicalism, as well as a United Nations-led counter-terrorism network. Narratives and ideologies knew no borders, he said, pledging Kazakhstan’s intention to work steadfastly in spreading the culture of peace and tolerance.
ABDALLAH Y. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia) said fighting extremist rhetoric and ideologies that fed terrorism were among the most urgent and important modern international challenges. It was a main priority for Saudi Arabia, which had adopted a comprehensive strategy to fight extremism. Not only did his country adopt security measures, but it had also enacted national legislation and worked to dry up the financial resources of terrorism. Prevention, rehabilitation and care were the three pillars of the State’s counter-terrorism approach. Saudi Arabia called on the international community to adopt a comprehensive plan that would end terrorism and preserve the sovereignty, security and stability of all States. His country had also provided support to help Member States in terms of capacity-building. Those who believed in extremism and marginalization while also calling for the hatred and dehumanization of others and justified the use of violence were equally extremists, irrespective of their religion. Israel had continued acquiring Palestinian lands and other acts of colonization. Turning a blind eye to what was happening was closely linked to the growing hate, violence and extremism demonstrated by both parties to the conflict.
DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said that national efforts had continued to confront terrorist groups, including ISIL. Because the persistent crises in the region had provided a breeding ground for terrorism, there was a strong need for tools to be provided for countries facing political upheavals. All stakeholders should cooperate in undertaking measures to address terrorism, including efforts led by religious scholars that had boldly faced extremist ideologies. For its part, Jordan had supported initiatives that aimed at stressing the peaceful and diverse nature of Islam. Youth must also be protected and provided with economic, educational and social support to prevent their recruitment by terrorist groups. Furthermore, social media and Internet service providers should be involved because those platforms had been used as a cyberspace battlefield, she said, emphasizing the broader need to establish an international framework to counter the above threats.
SADIA FAIZUNNESA (Bangladesh), associating herself with the OIC, said that an international response to terrorist and violent extremist narratives had to be nuanced, with short- and long-term initiatives, hard and soft approaches, and inclusive and participatory mechanisms customized to local needs. Law enforcement, prosecutors, information technology companies, social media administrations and human rights actors needed to come to an understanding on how to filter and sanction online terrorist narratives and sites, while respecting the right to access, privacy and expression. There also had to be an awareness of the creeping intrusion of violent extremist propaganda at the higher echelons of education, and it was critical to explore the potential role of women — traditionally seen as victims of terrorism — as agents of prevention, resilience and change.
HAHN CHOONG-HEE (Republic of Korea), noting that violent extremists were marketing terrorism over the Internet, said that counter-terror efforts called for a comprehensive approach dealing with fundamental drivers. It was necessary to undertake efforts to raise public awareness on the danger of terrorist narratives and ideologies. In that vein, the Republic of Korea had organized a seminar on Countering Violent Extremism in partnership with the Hedeya Center in July 2015, he said, recalling also that it had co-hosted the Korea-ASEAN Workshop on the Prevention of Violent Extremism with Indonesia in 2016. Furthermore, it would contribute $300,000 to the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate for capacity-building projects in vulnerable countries. There was need for greater attention to strengthening education in order to alleviate the risk of youth becoming radicalized while providing an alternative view rooted in hope and peace, he said, adding that it was also crucial to reinforce efforts to prevent terrorists from abusing the Internet. Finally, the establishment of an effective legal framework and law enforcement mechanisms would not only further deprive terrorists of resources and mobility, but also strengthen international cooperation in tracking terrorist plots and suspects.
MESHAL HAMAD MOHAMED JABR AL-THANI (Qatar) said the lessons learned from the growth of terrorism proved that it had not started in a vacuum, but had emerged from policies that had not dealt realistically with its root causes. The solution must be comprehensive and reject the use of terrorism to achieve certain political goals, she said. Military responses on their own would not be able to resolve all problems, and there was need for solutions that would address the root causes of terrorism while preserving international peace. In the Middle East, the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons, starvation, the targeting of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure, she said, describing that regime as the “very definition of terrorism”, while noting that it continued to violate legal and moral instruments. Warning against linking terrorism to any religion or culture, she said its root causes included foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination, the absence of justice and marginalization. Stressing the need to respect all religions, she said that did not call for terrorism, but for tolerance. Qatar had taken the initiative, alongside other nations, to hold a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on children and youth affected by terrorism, to be held in June, she said.
GIORGI KVELASHVILI (Georgia) said that citizens in his country had also been targeted to serve the interests of terrorist organizations in ISIL-controlled territories. The group’s terrorists used modern encrypted networks that posed a huge obstacle to law enforcement’s attempts to combat terrorism. To address that, Georgia had significantly streamlined its procedures for sharing intelligence, he said, adding that it had also taken steps, alongside civil society and advocacy groups, towards fuller integration of certain vulnerable communities into society. On weapons of mass destruction, he said that, in order effectively to prevent terrorists from acquiring them, the international community must enhance the existing security architecture and reinforce the physical security of sensitive materials. He also touched on the risks posed by the Russian Federation’s illegal military occupation of 20 per cent of Georgia’s sovereign territory.
LANA NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) said extremist groups with no association to Islam had exploited unresolved conflicts in the Middle East, threatening the region’s stability and undermining its security. Noting that 50 per cent of Arab societies comprised people under the age of 25, she said education played a significant role in countering extremism. For a return to pluralism and coexistence, the United Arab Emirates recommended that the Security Council apply a single standard to all actors, States and perpetrators of occupation, State terrorism and foreign interference. The international community, including the private sector, must step up efforts to implement the relevant existing norms, including resolution 2178 (2014), while discussing the best way to rehabilitate and reintegrate foreign fighters who returned home after defecting from extremist groups. There was also need for efforts to improve economic and social conditions for young people, she said, emphasizing the urgent need to counter extremism before it turned violent.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA VELÁSQUEZ (Peru) said hateful narratives that had been driving the terrorist machinery must be countered using initiatives to address the root causes and to foster peaceful, inclusive societies. Given the broad Internet presence of such terrorist groups, tools, including ICT measures, should target their social media activities to stop them from spreading their extremist ideals. Peru continued to support efforts that provided an efficient response at national, regional and local levels, he said, emphasizing his support for the Secretary-General’s reports. Efforts should be redoubled to ensure the global drive to stamp out terrorism.
MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti), associating himself with the statement of the OIC, said radical extremists sought to create a “civilization of panic” in which every act of terrorism not only took innocent lives, but also generated a vast number of living hostages. Input from civil society and religious leaders would be decisive in setting out specific plans for affected countries and regions. In that regard, it was important to give voice to both victims of extremist violence and repentant extremist fighters who could contribute to the demobilization and rehabilitation of terrorist recruits. Securing the full support of Internet and social media providers was essential, he said, adding that the freedom of expression for all needed to be balanced with the protection of vulnerable people from incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence.
JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA (Costa Rica) noted recent dramatic changes in the nature of the terrorist threat. The flow of foreign terrorist fighters — more than 30,000 individuals coming from more than 100 Member States — had complicated how the international community tackled the terrorist threat. Describing several examples of recruitment propaganda, he said it was critical to counter the ideological narrative used to draw young people into the ranks of terrorists. As most Da’esh recruitment was carried out online, it might be time to consider adopting a voluntary code of media conduct in order to prevent the glorification of terrorists. Victims should also be given space in the media, he said in that regard. The day following the terrorist attacks in Paris, a campaign known as “We Are One” had circulated on social media, promoting a message of peace and unity. That was a good example of a positive action to counter-terrorist ideology, he said, calling for a multidisciplinary approach led by the United Nations, and calling on States that had not yet done so to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty without delay. Finally, States should resolve all outstanding issues holding back the negotiation of a global counter-terrorism convention and ensure that it was adopted as soon as possible.
HALIT ÇEVIK (Turkey) said his Government was currently fighting three terrorist groups and had suffered from attacks in Ankara and Istanbul. A selective approach to those and related threats was counterproductive; the best way to combat the hateful ideologies was to make society more resilient against extremist narratives, with a special focus on young people. Turkey had undertaken a two-tier communication strategy to counter negative social media messaging, shut down Da’esh websites and banned access to foreign online terrorist content. Yet, more subtle strategies were needed, he said, encouraging the role of religious leaders in those efforts to ensure that the correct information on religion reached the public. Underlining that religion was not part of the problem and should never be associated with terrorism or violent extremism, he said protecting societies from the toxic indoctrination attempts by terrorist groups required conveying messages of peace and tolerance.
MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia) said his country had been able to overcome the difficulties that it had faced in the democratic transition process. However, those achievements should not blind anyone to current challenges, he stressed, noting that the country had seen several deadly terrorist operations, including several which had been foiled. Tunisia had promulgated laws to combat terrorism and money-laundering, inspired by international standards and best practices. Briefly describing the country’s national strategy to combat violent extremism, he said it focused, among other things, on building a culture of peace, tolerance and dialogue. In addition, practical measures had been taken, including the creation of a cyber portal to respond to the queries of young men about the tenets of Islam. While the primary responsibility for combating violent extremism fell on Member States, he nevertheless highlighted the need to develop international cooperation in that regard, as well as to ensure respect for human rights and freedom of expression. Furthermore, there was a need for systematic efforts to address the root causes of violent extremism.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said the ever-widening reach of terrorist groups, their financing and social media sophistication, and their ability to recruit from more than 90 countries required the swift implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly concerning drying up funding. Freedom of expression must be protected when passing legislation aimed at stemming the spread of extremist ideologies and a counter-narrative must be developed to oppose those notions. The private sector and online platform providers must respect laws and ensure clients used the Internet for peaceful purposes. Religious leaders must ensure Islam and its principles of peace, tolerance and coexistence were shared. With the in mind, Morocco had launched reform efforts, including a de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.
RY TUY (Cambodia), associating himself with ASEAN, expressed deep concern over the intensity and spread of terrorist attacks. He called on the international community to adopt an integrated social, economic and political response which would counteract the message of violence and destruction with a message of peace and prosperity. The United Nations could play a central role in that respect and all steps must be in full accordance with the United Nations Charter, including the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-intervention in domestic affairs. Noting that undercutting terrorist recruitment and the spread of terrorism required the adequate, stable implementation of social, political and economic conditions to end long-lasting regional conflicts, he said young people must be involved in the development of the “future we want”. Involving young people in the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change would empower young people and give them with a sense of purpose. Furthermore, the promotion of education and volunteering programmes would provide them with a sense of ownership in sustainable development, and away from the cycle of violence.
CHULAMANEE CHARTSUWAN (Thailand), speaking on behalf of ASEAN, said interfaith dialogue and the values of tolerance and respect for diversity were significant in sustaining coexistence among cultures and religions in his diverse region. Youth played an important role in building stable societies and raising awareness of the risk of radicalization. Education was an effective means to prevent young people from falling prey to ideologies of terrorism. Special attention in the region had been placed on addressing the rise of violent extremism with initiatives that focused on tackling factors leading to radicalization and terrorist activities, and addressing rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals influenced by terrorist narratives. ASEAN had also worked with countries to develop effective counter-terrorism and violent extremism.
The United Nations must tackle terrorism, including by countering narratives and ideologies, she said, calling for steps to prevent the abusive use of the Internet and to harness social media’s role to stop the dissemination of terrorist propaganda and violent ideologies. All those measures should be conducted with caution as to not infringe on freedom of expression. Along with comprehensive efforts against terrorism at all levels, the international community and Member States must address it at its very root. Poverty, lack of education, weak rule of law, prolonged and unresolved conflicts, and political and social inclusive all caused desperation and had the potential to lead people to violence and acts of terrorism. Ending terrorism was no longer about combating acts of terror, but a battle of ideas, she said.
PAWEŁ RADOMSKI (Poland) said religiously inspired terrorist groups, many of whom distorted the principles of Islam, required the international community to take up the fight for the hearts and minds of those most prone to recruitment drives. Predominantly Muslim countries had a special capability and responsibility to propagate a real, peaceful interpretation of Islam, with the international community supporting those efforts. Local communities needed to be engaged to build positive examples for the most vulnerable, he said, pointing to such good examples as the Hedayah Centre in Abu Dhabi. As outlined in the concept paper for the debate, countering the narratives and ideologies of terrorist groups was not a one-man task, but one that required all stakeholders to support efforts.
OMER DAHAB FADL MOHAMED (Sudan), associating himself with the OIC, said the world must implement new and comprehensive counter-terrorism approaches that focused not only on security and military dimensions, but also on cultural, social and economic elements. Greater priority should be given to actions at the regional and national levels, and it was crucial to control the international conditions that encouraged terrorism and violent extremism. Attempts to link Islamic terrorist groups and all those who carried out terrorist operations under the banner of Islam were false and Islamophobia, stereotyping and hatred of religions must be avoided. Stressing that “terrorism cannot be countered by terrorism”, he described his country’s national efforts, which were in line with its obligations to fight that scourge in all its forms and manifestations. Those included holding of an International Conference on Combating Terrorism and Sectarian Extremism in Africa, which had been co-organized with the Muslim World League on 27 and 28 April.
RODOLFO REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba) said counter-terrorism measures must be undertaken in line with the Charter and the norms of international human rights law and should respect States’ sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Double standards and selective measures must also be avoided as should any attempts to link terrorism with ethnicity or religion. As a victim of terrorist acts, Cuba had participated in many counter-terrorism initiatives, including by respecting national obligations to relevant Security Council resolutions. Moving forward, the United Nations must sharpen its focus on a future counter-terrorism convention that would define the terms and provide a guiding framework for stamping out that phenomenon. Citing national examples of terrorist acts that had caused much suffering, he said Cuba was firmly committed to the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), associating himself with the European Union and condemning terrorism in all its forms, said the international community must strengthen efforts to address the conditions conducive to, and the root causes of, radicalization and violent extremism. In that regard, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda was crucial. Underscoring the need to build upon the Secretary-General’s action plan, he said the concept of human security stood for a comprehensive approach that broadly encompassed the security of people and communities from violence — freedom from fear, freedom from want — as well as their right to live in dignity. Human security could lead to an “All-of-United Nations” approach, which had been one of the Secretary-General’s recommendations in the action plan. Expressing support for a strong regional focus, he said his country had led the Western Balkan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, which sought to set up an integrative and complementary approach among all partners of the region. He went on to describe a number of national initiatives aimed at combating extremist ideology.
ŽELJKO PEROVIĆ (Montenegro) associated himself with the European Union, saying the ability of the United Nations and the international community to fight terrorism had been constrained by States’ inability to agree on a comprehensive counter-terrorism convention, including a definition of terrorism. Achieving those goals was a political imperative, he said, urging all States to redouble efforts. The United Nations should do more to provide political leadership in that respect. Today’s violent conflicts and violent extremism were rooted in weak institutions and governance, absence of respect for fundamental rights, rule of law and justice, unemployment, marginalization, exclusion, corruption and organized crime. Measures to counter terrorism must be in line with human rights standards and the rule of law; the expression of views considered “extreme” should never be criminalized unless they were associated with violence. States must not misuse poorly defined concepts of terrorism to suppress political opposition or ideological dissent from mainstream values. He went on to warn against counter-terrorism operations that were non-specific, disproportionate, brutal or violated the very norms they sought to defend.
VASILIKI KRASA (Cyprus), aligning herself with the European Union delegation, said that the proliferation of terrorist attacks had become a constant reminder that terrorist organizations were successful in widely inciting and recruiting new fighters. A global solution to counter terrorist narratives required action and knowledge sharing at the local level. Enhancing coordination with the private sector, civil society, religious, educational and cultural institutions remained critical. Victims of terrorism could play a role in countering extremist violence, as well. Information exchange, youth participation, intercultural dialogue and initiatives for social inclusion could also build up resilience of societies to terrorist narratives.
NAZIFULLAH SALARZAI (Afghanistan) agreed with most of the today’s discussion on internal factors related to countering terrorism. Yet, focusing on external factors, he reminded the Security Council that the creation of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 1994 had opened the current tragic chapter of terrorism in the world. The Taliban came before other terrorist groups, including Al-Qaida, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and Da’esh, and their backers had characterized the kind of terror the world was witnessing today, including stoning women to death, closing girls’ schools and introducing suicide attacks that had brutalized Afghanistan’s entire population. Thousands of men had received training and logistical support in terrorist camps, acting as a precursor of current terrorists staging attacks in Asia, Europe, the United States, the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. Asking how the Taliban and its brutal practices had come into being whereby they knew how to drive tanks and fly jets while staging conventional warfare and capitalizing on prolonged political conflict in Afghanistan, he said the most cost-effective and easiest recruit methods stemmed from religious outfits, sloganism and preying on weaknesses emerging from a prolonged conflict.
Questioning the continued motivation to use violence through proxies to pursue political goals, he said the three main causes were a negative State rivalry in the region, tensions between military and civilian control in politics and trust deficits among States that had prevented constructive dialogue. “In our case, it is not the ideology, but the initiation, enabling and facilitation role of political actors and their use of radical ideology for short-term gains that need to be addressed,” he said. Targeting the promoters and drivers of such policies that used violence to pursue political goals within State structures was crucial in dealing with threats of violent extremism. The differentiation between good and bad terrorists by a few actors was futile since all forms of terrorism must be condemned. Using Afghanistan as an example of how terrorists had taken advantage of a prolonged conflict, he said the world was now in dire need of reducing State rivalries and addressing trust deficits.
DENIS RÉGIS (Haiti) said that, while States bore the primary responsibility for combating terrorism, recent experience had shown that pursuing only a military or police-led effort had its limits. While military gains against terrorists were being made in Iraq and Syria, the world was far from eliminating that scourge. Supporting the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, he said Haiti attached great importance to establishing measures and mechanisms to collectively undertake efforts to address radicalization and terrorist ideologies. Haiti supported the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and addressing issues of poverty, inequality and social and economic exclusion that were factors making communities vulnerable and States fragile. With that in mind, he said, establishing open, inclusive societies would drive success in combating terrorism.
JAMAL FARES ALROWAIEI (Bahrain) said the combating of terrorism and the spread of terrorist groups was of great importance and required continued international efforts. That scourge was a universal concern. Those groups did not represent the teachings of Islam, he said, calling for action on the ideological front to combat narratives which abused that religion. His country continued to work to combat terrorism, having promulgated laws against the phenomenon. In 2014, Bahrain had hosted a conference on combating the financing of terrorism; it had also organized a workshop on combating the criminal activities of Hizbullah. Furthermore, it worked to promote relevant cooperation between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, said countering the terrorist narratives that were causing much suffering in many countries required concerted action, with a complete rejection of distorting religion for political objectives. Terrorist groups must be countered with collective efforts rooted in international human rights law and through initiatives that addressed its causes. The situation regarding the question of Palestine had lingered and was being used by extremists to justify their behaviour. Going forward, dialogue needed to include all actors, such as youth and women, to reach towards constructive results that stamped out the violent ideologies of terrorist groups and their recruitment attempts. Associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, he said terrorism must be confronted to end the brutal actions that were destabilizing States and spreading violence. Yet, terrorism must not be equated with the legitimate struggles of peoples under occupation, including the Palestinian people’s long struggle for self-determination.
YE MINN THEIN (Myanmar) said the world was facing an extraordinary form of terrorism that surpassed all traditional and non-traditional threats around the globe. Extremism preyed on vulnerable groups, such as women and children, and even so-called “soft targets”, such as medical facilities and health-care personnel. Terrorism was ignorant to geographical and ethical boundaries. The international community must address the root causes of terrorism holistically, including through political, social and economic means. Myanmar had enacted domestic laws on combating the scourge in June 2014, through which it had criminalized various forms of terrorism, as well as financing and abetting terrorism. Necessary central control bodies and a Financial Intelligence Unit had been established, as well.
KOUSSAY ABDULJABBA ALDAHHAK (Syria, taking the floor a second time, responded to statements made by the ruling regimes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, which had included a number of false claims. Those regimes were deeply involved in spreading hateful extremism and barbaric terrorist acts, in addition to financing and arming terrorist groups. They stood behind many terrorist attacks witnessed by various Member States, and brought foreign terrorist fighters and mercenaries from around the world to his country to promote their own interests, delaying the resolution of the conflict and undermining efforts towards peace. The role of those regimes in supporting terrorism was no longer a secret to anyone. In particular, he spotlighted the role of the Turkish regime in preparing and transferring foreign fighters to Syria. Through such actions, those three regimes were in flagrant violation of international law, the United Nations Charter and relevant Security Council resolutions. He therefore called on the Council to condemn the practices of those regimes and to apply a “zero-tolerance” approach.
JAVAD SAFAEI (Iran) also took the floor a second time in response to the statement made by his counterpart from Saudi Arabia, saying that examples of inflammatory statements by influential Saudi officials had shown clearly who had been spreading sectarian rhetoric and hatred. A leading Saudi cleric had recently stated that the existing disregard for Shia populations would not end. While it was noble to fight terrorism, action must be taken against takfiri proponents in Saudi Arabia who spread hate. Unlike statements just made, Hizbullah was a legitimate branch of the Government of a United Nations Member State.
MAXIM V. MUSIKHIN (Russian Federation) also took the floor a second time, saying that his counterparts from Ukraine and Georgia had made irrelevant statements about his country, which he rejected.
YEVGEN LISUCHENKO (Ukraine) said he was deeply disappointed that the delegation of the Russian Federation had repeated false statements. That country was supporting terrorist organizations that aimed to cultivate hatred and resentment in Ukrainian territory, and pro-Russian propaganda certainly existed in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as other areas.
İPEK ZEYTINOĞLU ÖZKAN (Turkey) said she rejected allegations made by her Syrian counterpart, emphasizing that her country had taken care of many Syrian refugees that it was hosting, and was providing them with basic services.
Mr. MUSIKHIN (Russian Federation) said his previous comments applied to the statement by his counterpart from Ukraine.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2016/6 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
“The Security Council further reaffirms that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whosoever committed.
“The Security Council reaffirms its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all States in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
“The Security Council emphasizes that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization, and in this regard stresses the importance of promoting tolerance and inter religious dialogue.
“The Security Council stresses that terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States, international and regional organizations and civil society as appropriate, to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat, consistent with the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
“The Security Council reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with the Charter of the United Nations and all other obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.
“The Security Council reiterates the obligation of Member States to refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in or associated with terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups, consistent with international law, and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists.
“The Security Council underlines the importance of prompt and effective implementation of its resolutions related to the fight against terrorism, and recalls in this regard among others its resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005) and 2178 (2014).
“The Security Council, consistent with its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, further recalls that countering violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, including preventing radicalization, recruitment and mobilization of individuals into terrorist groups and becoming Foreign Terrorist Fighters is an essential element of addressing the threat to international peace and security posed by Foreign Terrorist Fighters, as underlined in resolution 2178 (2014), and in this regard, takes note of the Secretary-General's Plan of Action to prevent violent extremism, and further notes that the General Assembly has welcomed the initiative by the Secretary-General and took note of said Plan, which will be subject to further consideration during the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy review in June 2016, as well as in other relevant forums.
“The Security Council notes with concern that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, craft distorted narratives that are based on the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of religion to justify violence, which are utilized to recruit supporters and Foreign Terrorist Fighters, mobilize resources and garner support from sympathizers, in particular by exploiting information and communications technologies, including through the Internet and social media.
“The Security Council recognizes the role that victims of terrorism in particular, among other legitimate voices, can play in countering radicalization to violence, and to develop robust social media campaigns and counter messaging efforts to counter terrorist narratives and online recruitment attempts.
“The Security Council further notes, in this regard, the urgent need to globally counter the activities of ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities to incite and recruit to commit terrorist acts and recognizes that the international community should consider: developing an accurate understanding of how these groups motivate others to commit terrorist acts or recruit them; developing the most effective means to counter terrorist propaganda, incitement and recruitment, including through the Internet, in compliance with international law, including international human rights law; developing a counter-narrative campaign to encourage, and amplify active denouncers of ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities to point out the fallacies and inconsistencies of terrorist narratives, where applicable, while recognizing the need for such a campaign to be adaptive to national contexts; raising public awareness, including through education regarding counter-terrorist narratives; developing more effective ways for governments to partner with appropriate civil society actors, local communities and private sector industry partners, as applicable, to counter radicalization and recruitment efforts of ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities; strengthening international cooperation mechanisms; identifying any additional relevant infrastructure and capability needs of Member States; and mobilizing necessary resources to where there is need.
“The Security Council, accordingly, requests the Counter-Terrorism Committee, in close consultations with the CTED and other relevant United Nations bodies and international and regional organizations in particular the CTITF office, as well as interested Member States, to present a proposal to the Security Council by 30 April 2017 for a “comprehensive international framework”, with recommended guidelines and good practices to effectively counter, in compliance with international law, the ways that ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities use their narratives to encourage, motivate, and recruit others to commit terrorist acts, including with a counter‑narrative campaign, consistent with any similar campaign undertaken by the United Nations, as well as options for coordinating the implementation of the framework and mobilizing resources as necessary, emphasizing, in that regard, the primary role of Member States with regard to activities and arrangements consistent with such framework and welcoming their continuing efforts to enhance inter agency cooperation and coordination and establish relevant partnerships with private sector, civil society, religious, educational and cultural institutions with a view to countering the narratives of terrorist groups and incitement to commit terrorist acts.”