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Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office, Vladimir Voronkov delivers his statement at the roundtable discussion on victims' resiliency

Statement of Mr. Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General
Surviving Terrorism: Victims’ Voices
9 November 2017
(As delivered)

Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome and allow me to launch our documentary series on victims of terrorism and the roundtable discussion on resilience and rehabilitation.

It is an honor to have our special guests here today, who have flown in from across the world.

Terrorist attacks occur almost daily in different parts of the world, destroying the lives of innocent people and families.

I would like to take this moment to stand here in solidarity with all victims of terrorism for a minute of silence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and also with the families of those who have been lost.

[One minute of silence].

Thank You.

We, here at the UN, all recognize the threat terrorism poses to international peace and security. But more importantly, it affects us at the individual – and the personal - level.

This is why we must listen to victims’ voices.

Victims are powerful and credible messengers. Surviving victims can help us shape effective strategies to counter terrorism.

But we should not only listen, we must also act.

It is for this reason that the international community must step up. We must never allow ourselves to forget. We must constantly ask ourselves: are we doing enough to prevent and respond to the pain and suffering of victims of terrorism? Are we safeguarding their rights?

At the Office of Counter-Terrorism, we have been privileged to work with victims, victims’ associations, and Member States. We have learnt, and continue to learn, from their experiences.

It is only by cooperating at all levels can we raise the awareness on victims, work towards supporting them, their families and communities, and provide the space and opportunity for the international community to never forget the human cost of terrorism.

I am committed that the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism will continue to provide practical, pragmatic and realistic support to victims. And I promise that we will continue to make victims our priority.

Our work on victims has led us to recognize that there is a deficit of information on victims and for victims. We have tried to rectify this by establishing a practical mechanism that provides resources and information on victims of terrorism. 

Since its inception in June 2014, the United Nations Victims of Terrorism Support Portal has grown in strength, attracting more and more users to its site. 

We will need, with your support, to ensure that it remains timely and relevant to victims’ needs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As part of this commitment, the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism has commissioned a series of documentaries on victims of terrorism. Created together with the Department of Public Information (DPI), the series will provide a platform to give victims a voice on a variety of issues.

I would like to thank the Permanent Missions of Spain, Norway as well as the UN Department of Public Information for their strong collaboration on this documentary.

Today’s documentary is on rehabilitation and recovery and shows us the tragic consequences of an act of terrorism, but also the resilience of two very brave people.

Listening to Kamzy and Viljar - we see their bravery in the face of a terrible act, but we also see their strength and determination to overcome both a personal and national tragedy.

Their belief in themselves and in human nature shows us that although we will never forget the horror of terrorism, it can be transcended.

Their resilience also shows us that we can and must move forward, and that we should never be defeated by terrorists.

Yet, victims must also receive adequate support and resources so that they can look forward into the future and see possibilities.

Building a resilient society is a powerful tool in the fight against terrorism. A society that is resilient is more likely to uphold human rights and the rule of law, and not give into the grievances of terrorists. Resilience also works towards addressing the underlying causes of terrorism and violent extremism.

The interactive roundtable discussion that will follow the documentary will provide us with an opportunity to hear different stories, and perspectives on resilience and recovery. It allows us to explore good practices and lessons learned from around the world; and to listen to different approaches and contexts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank Kamzy and Viljar and all our panelists, for giving us time to listen to them. Your voices are what we need to hear and listen to. It reminds us that our work is not finished.

The Secretary-General himself has emphasized the need to protect, respect and promote the rights of victims: and we will continue to strive to fulfil this goal.

Thank you for your attention and thank you for your participation in today’s event.