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20.08.2019

Remarks by USG Voronkov at Screening of "Resilience in the Face of Terrorism: Victims' Voices from Cameroon and Nigeria"

Statement by Mr. Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General
Of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism
Film Screening and Roundtable
Discussion: “Resilience in the Face of Terrorism”
20 August 2019

Excellencies,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you to the first in a series of events to commemorate the second International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism.

Today’s screening of the documentary “Resilience in the Face of Terrorism: Victims’ Voices from Cameroon and Nigeria”, is an invitation to reflect on the human impact of terrorism, and the courage of survivors who struggle every day to overcome their tragedy and remake their lives.

Resilience can encompass a myriad ways to cope and heal as the photographic exhibition that can be viewed on the South Wall this week shows us.

Today’s documentary and roundtable discussion will explore what does it mean to be resilient and what coping mechanisms victims and survivors use in their everyday life.

It is the first of our Victims of Terrorism documentary series, produced in collaboration with the Department of Global Communications, to cover the Lake Chad Basin.

The documentary tells the stories of Wala Matari, an internally displaced woman, and Mohamed Lawan Goni, a Nigerian refugee, both of whom had to flee their homes due to attacks by Boko Haram.

The film shows how terrorism shattered their lives and explores how they became resilient, not only surviving their ordeals but adapting to their new lives as best they could. Their stories are a testimony of courage, resilience and humanity.

I hope that the roundtable discussion will pick up on these themes.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We need to reframe our understanding of support to victims and survivors’ resilience to ensure it is sustainable and long-term-oriented. Without this understanding we would not be able to effectively promote the rights and address the needs of victims of terrorism. We should translate the meaning of resilience into concrete approaches and initiatives.

I feel encouraged that we are seeing real momentum in this direction with the creation of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, and the adoption of two dedicated resolutions by the General Assembly – one establishing this commemoration Day, and the other enhancing global cooperation to assist victims.

We need to use these mechanisms to deliver on our promises of solidarity, truth, justice and dignity.

That is why today’s roundtable discussion is so important as we will hear directly from survivors what it means to be resilient.

I salute you all for your willingness to speak on these issues despite how difficult and emotional it must be for you to do so. I specially look forward to hearing from you what we need to do more and better to support victims of terrorism.

The documentary, the photo exhibition, that will be launched tomorrow by the Secretary-General on the International Day, and a Brown Bag discussion on resilience to be held on 22 August, have all been shaped by listening to victims.

But we want to take this one step further, that is why next year we will hold the first Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism during the second Counter-Terrorism Week at the United Nations in New York. By the way, building resilience against violent extremism and terrorism will be the main topic of all the events of this week.

The Congress will be an important milestone in our efforts to assist and support victims. It will bring together victims, Member States, civil society, and international and regional organizations to chart a new path for long-term and sustainable efforts.

I look forward to a fruitful discussion today on these issues.

Thank you.