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I have the honor to address the Sixth Committee on behalf of the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country Norway.
Terrorism and violent extremism, in all its forms and manifestations, represent a true threat to our societies.
Terrorist networks such as ISIL and al-Qaida continue their devastating operations despite the fall of the so called caliphate. Furthermore, the horrific attacks carried out in Christchurch, the recent attack in Norway and attacks in many other Member States, remind us that terrorism isn’t stopped by borders nor linked to any specific ideology. Working against all forms of violent extremism, including violent right wing extremism, is critical. Ideologies of intolerance and violence pose a threat to our shared values of peace, security, human rights and the rule of law.
The threat of terrorism and violent extremism affects us all and requires a global response.
It is our view that an agreed international definition of terrorism would enhance the international community’s ability to combat terrorism, while fully upholding international law. It would also enable stronger international cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism. The Nordic countries therefore support the work related to the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and encourage all member states to make the necessary efforts to reach an agreement.
The Nordic countries attach major importance to preventing violent extremism in all its forms and are all members of the Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism. The group is co-chaired by Norway and Jordan, and the purpose of the group is to raise awareness of the underlying conditions that drive the spread of violent extremism and terrorism, and to promote institutionalization of PVE across the UN system. In that regard, we appreciate the way that prevention of violent extremism has become an integral part of the UN’s agenda. The group has furthermore contributed to put issues regarding the roles of women in terrorism, as well as right wing violent extremism, on the UN’s agenda.
The Nordic countries will continue to support the work of the Secretary General, CTED, the UN Office of Counterterrorism, and contribute to putting these issues high up on the UN’s agenda. We also welcome the increased coordination with the Global Counterterrorism Forum as well as intensified focus on making effective use of field-based UN-resources in delivering contextualized and impactful local responses.
We need to maintain the momentum on prevention of terrorism and violent extremism. In this regard, we need to take a whole of society approach, where women, youth and local communities play an important role.
The different roles of women in the phenomenon of terrorism and violent extremism must be understood. The Nordic countries contribute to research projects in this field. For example the UNDPs global study “Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Reintegration and Rehabilitation” was released earlier this year.
The study shows, on the one hand, that women play an instrumental role in terrorist organizations as campaigners, recruiters, financers or as perpetrators of terrorist acts. In a recent judgement in Norway, a woman was convicted for terrorist financing and other terrorist offences.
On the other hand, women can play a vital role in countering violent extremism.
In the Nordic experience, the threat from terrorism is global but the most effective, sustainable solutions are local. We applaud community leaders, school teachers, youth representatives, municipality workers and all others acting as our first line of defense against those who instigate hate and discord. In addition, we appreciate the efforts of the Strong Cities Network, Nordic Safe Cities, the Global Community Engagement & Resilience Fund and similar platforms for release of local-level potential.
Youth is not the future, it is the present! They play a key role in preventing violent radicalisation, and we can achieve much more sustainable impact if they are involved as equal partners with huge potential, rather than target groups or ’ticking time bombs’, waiting to be dismantled.
At the UN conference in Nairobi this summer, one of the youth representatives asked for a joint pan-African vision for the future for young people to gather around. We need to ensure that youth has a positive and prosperous future to look forward to, with jobs, quality education and a possibility to fulfill their dreams. As representatives for governments, it is our duty to provide youth with proper tools to create a better world.
The Security Council has repeatedly underscored that all counter-terrorism measures taken by Member States must comply with their obligations under international law, including human rights law, international humanitarian law and refugee law. The Nordic countries stand fully behind this demand and will continue to underscore this.
Respect for human rights and the involvement of civil society are essential. We believe that by respecting human rights, engaging civil society and including gender perspectives, our efforts to address the threat posed by violent extremism, in all its forms, will be more effective in the long run and will have greater legitimacy.
In this regard, let me conclude by expressing the Nordic countries strong support to the work of the Ombudsperson to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, Mr. Daniel Kipfer Fasciati, and his office, which has its 10-year anniversary this year. The Office of the Ombudsperson is an important mechanism for ensuring that procedural human rights guarantees are respected within the UN sanctions regime. Fair and clear procedures are crucial for the effectiveness and legitimacy of the counter terrorism efforts pursued through the Security Council sanctions system. It is therefore of great importance to the Nordic countries to ensure that the Office of the Ombudsperson has the necessary capacity to carry out its mandate in an independent, effective and timely manner.
I thank you.