Pakistan has called for addressing internal and external factors that drive extremist ideologies in different countries and regions as the UN General Assembly began its sixth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the wide-ranging framework adopted in 2006 to defeat what is commonly known as a “hydra-headed scourge.”
“We believe there is need for the strategy to address the question of drivers of violent extremism as well,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the 193-member Assembly on Tuesday.
The Strategy is based on four pillars: tackling the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the UN system in that regard; ensuring respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
The Assembly reviews the strategy every two years, making it a living document attuned to member states’ counter-terrorism priorities.
Ahead of the review, the Pakistani envoy brought together at a working luncheon representatives of 15 countries from all regions of the world for an exchange of view on the strategy, an initiative which won praise from the participants.
At the outset of her remarks on Tuesday, Ambassador Lodhi strongly condemned Israel’s acts of state terrorism in Gaza, which claimed scores of Palestinian lives, as well as the terrorist attacks in Indonesia, Afghanistan and France.
She said that the latest review will provide an opportunity to review the evolving terrorism landscape, give recommendations to address emerging challenges and threats, and propose measures to be taken by Member States and UN entities to defeat terrorism.
Stressing the need for developing preventive approaches to curb the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, she said that the phenomenon could best be understood and effective responses evolved by understanding the conditions under which it thrives, and leads to terrorism.
“While we fully support the idea of developing counter messaging to address the issue of violent extremism, we believe there is need for a comprehensive international framework to address the ‘drivers of violent extremism’ as well,” the Pakistani envoy said.
Evolving a comprehensive preventive approach, she said, was not possible without assessing the root causes responsible for violent extremism.
Ambassador Lodhi said that an erroneous impression was being created about the preventive approach that violent extremism was exclusively the product of lack of good governance, human rights, development and rule of law at the national level.
“Drivers like foreign interference and occupation, protracted conflicts, lack of the rule of law at the international level, political and economic marginalization of migrant communities are key issues that are conspicuous by their absence from this discussion,” Ambassador Lodhi said.
“Both internal and external factors that drive extremist ideologies in different countries and regions, as well as the role of foreign occupation and prolonged unresolved conflicts that have contributed significantly to the rise of violent extremism, should be part of any comprehensive preventive strategy.”