UN presents action plan to defeat violent extremism Ban Ki-moon urges countries to develop national plans of action with focus on seven priority areas

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

NEW YORK (AA) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday presented a comprehensive plan of action to defeat violent extremism, calling for concerted action at the global, regional and national levels.

“Many years of experience have proven that short-sighted policies, failed leadership, heavy-handed approaches, a single-minded focus only on security measures and an utter disregard for human rights have often made things worse”, Ban told the 193-nation General Assembly.

“We all lose by responding to ruthless terror with mindless policy — policies that turn people against each another, alienate already marginalized groups, and play into the hands of the enemy,” he said. “We need cool heads and common sense. We must never be ruled by fear, or provoked by those who strive to exploit it.” The far-reaching plan encompasses “ongoing, essential security-based counter-terrorism measures” and “systematic preventive measures that directly address the drivers of violent extremism”, according to an information note for media.

The plan identifies poverty, discrimination, poor governance, rights violations, unresolved conflicts and radicalization in prisons as “push factors” conducive to violent extremism, while indicating that collective victimization, distortion of beliefs, political ideologies and cultural differences play a key role in transforming ideas into violent extremist action.

It also urges each member country to develop its own national plan of action with a focus on seven priority areas that include “dialogue and conflict prevention”; “strengthening good governance”; “engaging communities”; “empowering youth”; “gender equality and empowering women”; “education” and “strategic communications, the internet and social media”.

“We must break down the silos between the peace and security, sustainable development, human rights and humanitarian actors at the national, regional and global levels, including at the United Nations,” Ban said.

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