Terrorist Groups Must Not Be Allowed To Exploit ‘Fragilities’ Caused By Global Health Pandemic
“It affects all nations and can only be defeated collectively”, he said, opening the second annual gathering of UN and international experts known as Counter-Terrorism Week, held virtually this year, with a call to “harness the power of multilateralism to find practical solutions”. Acknowledging that it is “too early to fully assess the implications of COVID-19 on the terrorism landscape” the UN chief told the first of series of virtual interactive discussions on strategic and practical challenges of countering terrorism during a global pandemic that ISIL, Al-Qaida, neo-Nazis and other hate groups “seek to exploit divisions, local conflicts, governance failures and grievances to advance their objectives”.
At the 1st #VirtualCTWeek discussion session moderated by @UN_Disarmament USG Nakamitsu, participants discussed key issues including ways to respond & protect individuals & infrastructures from:— United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (@UN_OCT) July 6, 2020
Threats of #bioterrorism
Use of the internet for terrorist purposes pic.twitter.com/TKml0srNyv
Guiding The FightMr. Guterres highlighted five areas to guide counter terrorism, beginning with keeping up the momentum.
“This includes continuing to invest in national, regional and global counter-terrorism capabilities, especially for countries most in need of assistance”, he said. Evolving terrorist threats and trends must also be closely monitored and met with innovative responses that have not only the right technology, tools and concepts to stay ahead of terrorists but that are gender sensitive and recognize that violent misogyny lies at the heart of many groups. “Full compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law is essential, the Secretary-General stated, adding, “the fight against terrorism must uphold these values or it will never succeed”. His fourth point flagged the need to tackle the spread of terrorist narratives through pandemic-sensitive, holistic approaches, and he said that non-State actors must not be allowed to exploit the “fissures and fragilities” of rising psycho-social, economic and political stresses, related to the coronavirus. Throughout the upcoming discussions, victims’ voices will be heard to help prevent violent extremism and build inclusive, resilient societies, said Mr. Guterres. And finally, he stressed the importance of strengthening information sharing to learn from the experiences and good practices of others in the COVID-19 security landscape, saying that “quality capacity-building assistance to Member States will remain an important pillar” of UN counter-terrorism work. “We must commit to do more and better”, stated the UN chief. “As in every other area of our mission, our work should be assessed by the difference we make in people’s lives. In conclusion, Mr. Guterres said that as the discussions over the coming week will feed into next year’s High-Level Counter-Terrorism Week – including the seventh biennial review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the second Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism agencies of Member States, and the inaugural Congress of Victims of Terrorism – the UN will remain “fully committed to advancing our common struggle against terrorism and upholding our common values”.
Terrorism Issues AboundMeanwhile, Vladimir Voronkov, the UN Counter-Terrorism chief, stressed in his opening remarks that although the number of terrorist attacks and fatalities has been declining since its peak during the rise of ISIL, terrorism remains “a major threat to international peace and security” as some groups are extending their reach into new areas. With this is mind and amid the expanding work of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) and its partners, as well as that of the Security Council, he said the UN is implementing more than 300 counter-terrorism capacity-building projects around the world, including 50 overseen by his Office, benefitting 72 countries. And while he said COVID-19 has not changed this positive trend, he cautioned that “we must stay vigilant as terrorists are using innovative tactics and tools to exploit vulnerabilities and conditions conducive to terrorism, many of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.” Credit - UN