New York, 30 September 2014 - Secretary-General's message to open briefing of the Counter-Terrorism Committee [delivered by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs]
Delivered by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs
I thank the Government of Morocco and the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate for convening this open briefing.
The evolution of the terrorist threat in new and unpredictable directions is one of the most serious challenges facing the international community.
In particular, groups driven by violent extremism have caused destruction in West Africa, South Asia, Iraq and Syria. They have brazenly kidnapped young girls, attempted to destroy cultural institutions, warped the peaceful values of religions, and brutally murdered thousands of innocent people.
While the international community has every right to defend against this threat using available legal means, it must pay particular attention to addressing the causes of violent extremism if this problem is to be resolved in the long run.
There is no more time to lose: we have to act concertedly and with determination. Our action has to be multifaceted: addressing the immediate security challenges, the political context and underlying, long-term grievances.
We must also work to avoid responses to terrorism that are carried out in a way that exacerbates the problem -- when efforts are not sufficiently targeted and entire communities feel victimised by human rights abuses committed in the name of counter-terrorism. Such abuses are not only immoral; they are also counterproductive.
Through our collective efforts, we must ensure that all counterterrorism actions and policies are consistent with international human rights and humanitarian laws.
The Security Council’s resolution 1624, and Pillar I of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, together provide us with a firm basis in assisting Member States to act against incitement, extremism and intolerance, and preventing the subversion of educational, cultural and religious institutions by terrorists.
The education sector has an important role to play. Member States must strengthen their education systems to promote tolerance and mutual understanding among our children and youth, and to foster a global alliance of civilizations. Stronger civil society participation is equally necessary.
Last week, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution against the Foreign Terrorist Fighters phenomenon, which is another manifestation of violent extremism. The United Nations will do its utmost in assisting States to implement the resolution. The UN Counter-Terrorism Centre has already launched a major project to support Member States in understanding the phenomenon and developing policy to address it.
More broadly, many of the 34 UN entities serving under the framework of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force -- including the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate -- have been engaged in facilitating and providing assistance to Member States.
In West Africa, for example, the UN has been actively engaged through the Integrated Assistance in Countering Terrorism initiative in Nigeria and Burkina Faso to carry out projects on conflict prevention, peace education and other measures.
We are providing similar assistance in Central Asia and South Asia by helping governments foster partnerships with civil society, particularly religious leaders, media, youth and women’s groups.
We are determined to step up our efforts to assist Member States around the world as called for by the fourth review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
I am confident that with the experiences shared here today by the Government of Morocco and other Member States, we can learn more from each other’s experiences and replicate successful programmes elsewhere to counter the rising threat posed by violent extremism.
Statements on 30 September 2014