By Sadiya Hamza
United Nations- The UN had expressed readiness to work on a comprehensive multi-stakeholder plan of action to prevent violent extremism that would be presented to the full membership of the General Assembly later this year.
The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, made this known in his remarks at the Summit on Violent Extremism organised by the U.S. Government in Washington D.C. on Thursday.
He said “as the first step of such a plan, I myself as Secretary-General and the President of the UN General Assembly of the UN, in cooperation with the UN Alliance of Civilisations, plan to convene a special event in the coming months.
“That will bring together faith leaders from all around the world to promote mutual understanding and reconciliation.
“We will utilise the platform of the UN to send a powerful message of tolerance, solidarity and reconciliation.’’
Ban said violent extremism was not a North-South or East-West issue.
He added that “it is not confined to a particular region or religion; It transcends borders and is present across the world.
“No single country or organisation can defeat terrorism and extremism on its own.
“All countries, along with regional and international organisations as well as political, religious, academic and civil society leaders, should join hands to forge a multi-faceted response that respects international human rights and humanitarian law.’’
The UN boss said the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which was adopted by member states by consensus in 2006 provides a comprehensive framework.
“Security Council Resolution 2178, adopted last September under Chapter VII of the Charter at a meeting chaired by President Barack Obama, has put further strength behind our collective efforts,’’ he added.
The UN, he added, was working to build capacity among Governments and bridges between people.
“Make no mistake, when leaders call on communities to isolate themselves or run away, extremists rejoices.
“I am also concerned by anti-immigrant forces and extremists feeding off one another in a death spiral of intolerance.
“The international community must pull together its collective wisdom and best practices.
“Addressing this profound challenge in a manner that solves, rather than multiplies, the problem may be the greatest test our human family faces in the 21st century.
“Let there be no doubt: the emergence of a new generation of transnational terrorist groups including Da’esh and Boko Haram is a grave threat to international peace and security,” he said.
Ban said “extremists are pursuing deliberate strategy of “shock and awful,” beheadings, burnings, and snuff films designed to polarise and terrorise, and provoke and divide us.
“But let us recognise that the vast majority of the victims are Muslims, across a broad arc of upheaval and distress.
“Women and girls are subject to appalling, systematic abuse, rape, kidnapping, forced marriage, sexual slavery and other unspeakable horrors.
“No cause or grievance can justify such crimes.’’
The UN Chief commended member states for their determined political will to defeat terrorist groups.
“We must do all we can to neutralise this threat. That means responding decisively and concretely. But it also means being mindful of the pitfalls.
“Many years of our experience have proven that short-sighted policies, failed leadership and an utter disregard for human dignity and human rights have caused tremendous frustration and anger on the part of people who we serve.
“We will never find our ways by discarding our moral compass.
“We need cool heads. We need common sense. And we must never let fear rule.’’
The UN chief thanked President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for convening the important gathering on preventing violent extremism.
He praised Obama and Kerry for their leadership, strong commitment and eloquent speech and giving the UN a good way forward so that members can work together to defeat violent extremism and terrorism.(NAN)