New York

27 June 2012

Secretary-General's remarks at Symposium on Promoting Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism

Mr. President, thank you for organizing this event, together with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.

We are here today with a simple message:  It takes more than traditional security approaches to counter terrorism.  We must also work together to extinguish the flames of hate and intolerance that breed terrorist violence.

We know that social disharmony and a climate of intolerance for people defined as ‘other’ are simply out of step with our rapidly globalizing world.  They stand against the values and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

That is why the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy places special emphasis on dialogue and understanding between communities.

Several members of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force – including UNESCO, UNICRI and the Alliance of Civilizations –  have made important progress.

But much more needs to be done.

Acts of terror from Norway to Nigeria show that intolerance can lead to violence and loss of innocent lives.

National governments must take action to foster engagement between communities, and build  tolerant and resilient societies that reject the hate-filled narratives of terrorists.

Last September, I convened the Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation. 
Time and again, speakers underscored the importance of universal education – education that opens children’s minds to the diversity of cultures and our common humanity.

They also called for increased attention to rehabilitate misguided individuals, and to prevent terrorists from capitalizing on political grievances through the internet or through incitement. 

Today, you will have the opportunity to discuss new ideas, share good practices and contribute even more towards developing a global culture of dialogue and understanding.

I encourage you to explore how the mass media can best contribute to peaceful exchanges of views; how to most effectively leverage public-private partnerships for greater understanding among communities; and how to build on the success of de-radicalization programmes.

Mr. President,

We must spare no effort to provide all people – particularly our children -- with an environment where they cherish the values that bind us as humans and nourish the diversity that enriches our souls.

Hate and violence have no place in such a world.

Together, let us build a culture of dialogue and understanding, and ensure that terrorist dogma never finds fertile ground.

I thank you for your commitment and wish you a very productive meeting.

Thank you.