Day: November 26, 2014

Ban Ki-moon’s speeches

Remarks to Security Council’s open debate on International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Security Council, 19 November 2014

Thank you for convening this timely high-level debate.

Let me begin by recognizing the global leadership of Australia – which this month successfully chaired the G-20 Summit in Brisbane, where I had the honour of participating, and is also presiding over the Security Council this month. You are presiding over leading Peace and Security, Economic Development and Human Rights issues this month.

I welcome the Council’s increased attention to the growing threat to international peace and security posed by terrorism and violent extremism.

Less than two months ago, this body adopted Resolution 2178 calling for stronger international efforts to address the challenge of foreign terrorist fighters.

This followed closely on the heels of Resolution 2170 adopted in August under the Presidency of the United Kingdom.

I commend the Council for its unity of purpose.

Despite strengthened efforts to combat the threat, the number of foreign terrorist fighters in the Syria and Iraq conflicts has grown to over 15,000 from more than 80 countries.

In addition, terrorist groups spurred by violent extremist ideologies — such as Da’esh, the Al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram and Al-Shabab – continue to carry out brutal acts and cause profound suffering. Millions live under the control of such groups.

Technology and globalization have made it easier for them to cause disproportionate harm, exploit narratives and profit from illicit financing. Da’esh, for example, has been illegally trading in oil.

We are increasingly seeing terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational crime grow in intensity and feed off each other.

The international community and the UN must ensure the full implementation of our many tools for action — including Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Since the adoption of Resolution 2178 less than two months ago, we have taken a number of specific steps.

First, the Al-Qaeda Monitoring Team provided an oral briefing to the Council’s relevant committee on the foreign terrorist fighters threat. This will be followed by a report in March 2015.

Second, the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate – CTED — has prepared a preliminary analysis of the principal capacity gaps in Member State implementation of Resolution 2178.

Third, in order to address these gaps, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force – CTITF — has established a UN coordination mechanism to mobilize action to support the needs of Member States.

Fourth, the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre has initiated a UN system-wide programme on foreign terrorist fighters to develop inter-agency projects to assist Member States.

Two major projects have been launched. The Centre is helping Member States analyze the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon and develop policy responses. I encourage all Member States to participate in this project, particularly those most severely affected.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime is also working to strengthen the legal and criminal justice capacity of Middle East and North African countries to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters.

Resolution 2178 also recognizes that violent extremism poses a broader threat to international peace and security – affecting political stability, national cohesion and the very foundations of some Member States.

The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force is stepping up efforts to assist Member States address the multi-dimensional challenges of extremist ideologies and violent extremism.

This includes a concrete follow-up programme to an international conference convened in Geneva last year by the CTITF Office to encourage States to implement practical measures to counter violent extremism, as prescribed in Pillar I of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

I know that CTED, a member of the CTITF, is also looking at this challenge on behalf of the Council.

Ultimately, violent extremism is a multi-dimensional challenge that needs to be effectively addressed at the grassroots level. We are therefore examining how best to strengthen the counter-terrorism capabilities of UN Special Political Missions, Peacekeeping Operations and UN Country Teams. This will be among the areas for review under the new High Level Panel on Peace Operations.

Madame President,

The threat of foreign terrorist fighters and the scourge of violent extremism are not just security challenges, they are also political and development challenges affecting stability and the social fabric of communities, countries and regions.
We must continue to think more deeply into the fundamental conditions that allow extremism to thrive. Looking at these challenges solely through a military lens has shown its limits.

People need equality and opportunity in their lives. They need to feel inclusion by their governments and trust from their leaders.

As we work together to address the challenge, we must also strive to avoid responses to terrorism that are carried out in a way that exacerbates the problem, such as when efforts are not sufficiently targeted and entire communities feel victimised by human rights abuses committed in the name of counter-terrorism.

Such abuses are not only immoral; they are counterproductive. Through our collective efforts, we must ensure that all counterterrorism actions and policies are consistent with international human rights and humanitarian laws.

This rights-centred approach to counter-terrorism must be upfront in our planning, not merely an afterthought. I cannot stress this strongly enough.

I remain fully committed to working with you to ensure that we effectively respond to this challenge in a comprehensive manner.

Thank you.

Sources: United Nations


Robert Williams

Editor in Chief


Categories: World

UN sounds alarm to end ‘global pandemic’ of violence against women

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (left) and Chirlane McCray, New York City’s First Lady, after signing an agreement to work together in order to enhance the safety and empowerment of women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Jennifer S. Altman

25 November 2014 – Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that destroys lives, fractures communities and holds back development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as the world body today marked the International Day to End Violence against Women.

“But violence against women and girls does not emerge from nowhere. It is simply the most extreme example of the political, financial, social and economic oppression of women and girls worldwide,” Mr. Ban said at an Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) event at Headquarters.

Joining Mr. Ban at today’s panel discussion were UN Women Executive-Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; First Lady of New York, Chirlane McCray, and actor Teri Hatcher, among others.

This year’s theme of Orange Your Neighbourhood promises grassroots action to raise awareness in local communities. For example, the UN Secretariat building and the Empire State Building were lit orange last night, and many wore orange today to show support and solidarity in ending the scourge that affects one in three women worldwide.

Violence against women is not confined to just one region, political system, culture or social class, Mr. Ban explained today. It is present at every level of every society in the world. It happens in peacetime and becomes worse during conflict.

This year alone, we have seen the kidnapping of more than 200 girls in Nigeria; the Indian schoolgirls who were raped, killed and hung from a tree; graphic testimony from Iraqi women of rape and sexual slavery during war; the continued bullying of women on the internet.

Governments, workplaces, universities and sports authorities are stepping up much-needed action to end sexual violence. More than 80 per cent of governments have passed laws on domestic violence and sexual harassment.

However, their implementation is often slow and uneven. And fragile gains continue to be threatened by extremism and a backlash against women’s rights.

“It is up to everyone to play their part; women’s rights are not only women’s business. Men and boys are finally taking their place as partners in this battle. The HeForShe campaign I launched two months ago brings together one half of humanity in support of the other,” Mr. Ban said.

Echoing that, UN-Women’s Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka explained that this Day is an opportunity to “shine an orange light” on violence against women that takes place at home, in schools, nations, cities, and villages. She urged for support to confront that “horror” and “extinguish it.”

“This is an important moment as the world is getting ready to gear up to the post-2015 plan of action,” Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said, highlighting that the issue of fighting violence against women will be high on the future global development agenda.

“No culture, no nation, no woman – old or young – is immune to this human rights violation,” she added.

“And these women are determined to reclaim their lives,” she said, urging that “there is no time for complacency or excuses, the time to act is now.”

“We need young people, members of Parliament and political parties, religious and traditional leaders as well as men and boys to play their roles,” the UN-Women chief explained.

“We know what works now. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiative, along with other studies, has generated quite some data and best practices that demonstrate that the importance of protecting women and girls and providing services to those who fall victim to these horrendous crimes.”

“We are in a unique position in history and a lot of will among the people of the world to forge ahead and conquer violence against women,” she said.

Recalling meeting women who have been victims of violence, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said that she “forever will be haunted by their suffering” but also inspired by their courage.

Critical areas of concern

One of those personal stories shared today was that of actress Teri Hatcher, who hoped her experiences would “shed light on the dangers of remaining silent about sexual abuse.” Ms. Hatcher was abused by her uncle and after she remained silent about it, the man went on to abuse a young woman who later committed suicide.

Upon learning of that tragedy, Ms. Hatcher spoke up against her uncle, who was then convicted and sentenced to prison, where he died. “But nothing could undo the devastating violence he had caused,” she acknowledged.

“I’m the ‘one in three women,’” Ms. Hatcher said referring to statistics on the one billion women worldwide who suffer from violence, which forever affects self-esteem, self-worth and self-happiness.

“When society shames the victim by asking why did you stay instead of asking ‘why did he abuse her,’ we just…foster a society where the abuser continues to abuse,” Ms. Thatcher said stressing the need to break stigma so that victims are unafraid to speak up.

“As long as violence is a part of any woman’s story, silence will not be a part of mine,” she said.

Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York, said that the Mayor’s office is “working day and night” to connect with women and girls in communities to inform them about the city centres available to those who suffer from violence.

“We know that violence against women and girls is a global problem that requires a global solution,” said Ms. McCray. But cities and local Governments such as New York’s can help in such efforts.

For instance, New York’s official first agreement with the UN – a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today by the First Lady and UN Women’s Executive Director – commits to making areas in the city safe for all women and girls and free of sexual harassment.

“Every day, in cities across the globe, women and girls are trapped in lives defined by fear and violence. Here in New York City, we have launched a comprehensive effort to connect victims to the resources they need to break the cycle and establish their independence. But we must do even more, which is why we are joining the UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative,” said Ms. McCray.

“We are committed to doing our part to create a world – and a city – where all women and girls can live their lives without fear of violence.”

New York is the first city in the United States to join the safe city initiative. The city is also leading on women’s leadership roles, as the city government’s majority is female and universal prekindergarten, a “game-changer” for many working mothers.

Sources: United Nations


Robert Williams

Editor in Chief


Categories: World

National Security Adviser from Iraq visits NATO

Iraq’s National Security Advisor, Mr. Falih Al Fayyadh, visited NATO Headquarters on Tuesday, 25 November 2014. He met with the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, and briefed NATO Permanent Representatives during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council chaired by NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg.

NATO Deputy Secretary Genera Alexander Vershbow meets with Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh al-Fayyad

During his visit, Mr. Al Fayyadh and NATO Ambassadors shared views on the current security situation in Iraq and the region. They also discussed ways to enhance the NATO-Iraq cooperation, within the framework of the existing Individual Partnership Cooperation Programme (IPCP) between NATO and Iraq.

Sources: NATO


Karl William


Reporter Section NATO


Categories: World