Pointing out that it was too early to fully assess the implications of coronavirus pandemic on terrorism, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gueterres highlighted the new emerging forms of terrorism such as cyber attacks, misuse of digital technology and bio terrorism.
He said this while addressing the first of series of virtual interactive discussions on strategic and practical challenges of countering terrorism during a global pandemic.
“Like the virus, terrorism does not respect national borders. It affects all nations and can only be defeated collectively,” he said and called for harnessing the power of multilateralism to find practical solutions.
As part of countering terrorism, Guterres highlighted five areas, which included continuing to invest in national, regional and global counter-terrorism capabilities, especially for countries most in need of assistance. He also mentioned that evolving terrorist threats and trends must also be closely monitored. They must be 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.
The Secretary General said that full compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law was essential. He also said that these values should be upheld or the fight against terrorism will never succeed.
He also explained the need to tackle the spread of terrorist narratives through pandemic-sensitive, holistic approaches. Guterres s also stressed the importance of strengthening information sharing. He said that “quality capacity-building assistance to Member States will remain an important pillar” of UN counter-terrorism work.
Meanwhile UN Counter-Terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov said that terrorism, which has shown a decline during t6eh coronavirus pandemic, was still a major threat to international peace and security. He said that the terrorist groups were extending their reach into new areas.
He said that UN is implementing more than 300 counter-terrorism capacity-building projects around the world, including 50 overseen by his Office, benefitting 72 countries. However, he said that the world must be vigilant as the groups were using innovative tactics and tools to exploit vulnerabilities and conditions conducive to terrorism.
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