Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism

New York, 27 June 2012. The President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, has convened a “Symposium on Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism.” The Symposium, organized in partnership with the UN Counter Terrorism Task Force (CTITF) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), will take place at the United Nations Headquarters on 27 June 2012.

Today, countering the appeal of terrorism emerges as a priority. Terrorist threats remain high in many regions of the world, and several terrorist organizations of diverse ideological inspiration continue to innovate in strategy and tactics. Ideological factors, intolerance, unresolved conflicts, exclusion, inequality, social marginalization and lack of integration of local communities usually converge in enabling environments where terrorism can become appealing to some as an instrument of political activism.

Security, law-enforcement and judicial measures alone do not suffice to counter this sociopolitical phenomenon; measures to promote development, dialogue and understanding, upstream prevention and downstream rehabilitation are necessary as well, as is developing an evidence-based understanding of the conditions conducive to terrorism.

Two of the key elements in the UN strategic approach to countering terrorism are dialogue and understanding. Since they enable societal resilience through the furthering of education, openness, and participation in society, they are essential to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.

The United Nations, through the CTITF, is active in the policies and practical implementation of actions through various UN instruments relevant to the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon of violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism. In the last five years, thematic working groups covering different methods to counter the appeal of terrorism have been set up; regional workshops on the implementation of the UN Global CT Strategy have been held; good practices in upstream prevention have been identified; and cutting edge practical tools to deliver results locally are being developed in the fields of disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration. All of this has been developed within a high-level political process enabled by Member States who have involved themselves, their governments and their experts in a long-term multilateral partnership to further the goals of the CTITF with concrete results.

UNICRI action in this field is conceived to identify innovative means to prevent and counter the appeal of violent extremism and terrorist recruitment and provide Member States with actionable knowledge to strengthen national capacity. The UNICRI initiative on Countering the Appeal of Terrorism aims to address, from a multilateral perspective, the downstream effort to disengage, rehabilitate and reintegrate into society individuals who have been involved in terrorist activities.

The Symposium aims at nurturing the momentum of high level political attention and support for the complex areas of dialogue, understanding and countering the appeal of terrorism, and showcasing some of the existing good practices that are being developed and applied in various regional and national programmes to counter the appeal of terrorism.

The Keynote Speaker of the Symposium will be United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. High level officials from several countries and high level representatives of international organizations will participate in the Symposium.

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