On 16 November António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivered a major speech on “Counter-terrorism and human rights: winning the fight while upholding our values” at SOAS University of London.
It was hosted by Baroness Amos, Director of SOAS, and attended by 300 students, journalists and members of civil society. The United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK) was delighted to support the event.
You can read the transcript here.
Addressing a packed room, the Secretary-General set out a robust, comprehensive and principled approach to countering terrorism, emphasising that:
Praising the “inspiring” response of Londoners, Mancunians and others to terrorist attacks this year, he noted that:
He said that the root causes of terrorism included poverty, inequality, youth unemployment and lack of public services – areas the UN development system is working to address – but underscored that:
He set out five counter-terrorism priorities:
- Stronger international cooperation, including through greater exchange of information
- A sustained focus on prevention, including through sustainable and inclusive development, and investment in young people, who make up the majority of new terrorist recruits
- Upholding human rights and the rule of law to prevent instability and resentment
- Winning the battle of ideas by investing in social cohesion, and fighting bigotry and patriarchy
- Lifting up the voices of victims and survivors of terrorist attacks
He also announced plans to convene the first-ever UN summit of heads of counter-terrorism agencies in 2018.