11 February 2016

General Assembly debate on UN Secretary General’s Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism

Statement delivered by HE Ambassador Abdullah Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on behalf of the countries of the OIC

1. On behalf of the countries of the OIC, I wish to thank you for convening today’s debate to afford an opportunity to the Member and Observer States of the UN to express their views on Violent Extremism and the UN Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. [Ad Ref]

2. The OIC believes that violent extremism and terrorism undermine our shared objectives of a peaceful and prosperous world, and that no country in the world is immune to the effects of violent extremism and terrorism. The OIC, therefore, supports efforts at national, regional and international levels to prevent violent extremism and terrorism. [Ad Ref]

3. In this regard, the OIC welcomes the initiative of the Secretary General to develop a Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (A/70/674), and takes note of the Plan of Action. [Ad Ref]

4. The OIC reaffirms its unequivocal rejection of all attempts to associate any country, race, religion, culture or nationality with violent extremism and terrorism. [Ad Ref]

5. While the OIC emphasizes that there is no agreed definition of violent extremism, it fully subscribes to the need to prevent this phenomenon. [Ad Ref]

6. The OIC believes that a comprehensive preventive approach to violent extremism should address its local and external drivers in a balanced manner. [Ad Ref]

7. Cooperative efforts at the international level must be conducted in full respect of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. [Ad Ref]

8. The OIC has a principled position against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomsoever and wherever. [Ad Ref]

9. The OIC recognizes that terrorism cannot be tackled by security or military means alone, and underlines the need to attach due attention to and devising concrete plans for addressing the various dimensions and root causes of terrorism. [Ad Ref]

10. We also consider it important to address the root causes of the global phenomenon of terrorism, violence and extremism, and the means to address them at the political, economic, social and intellectual levels. In this vein, the OIC recalls the content of the General Assembly resolution 68/127 and 70/109 on a world against violent extremism (WAVE). [Ad Ref]

11. On a comprehensive approach to tackle terrorism, the OIC believes that due attention and concrete plan of actions must address the following aspects and dimensions of the phenomenon of terrorism:

o The political and socio-economic contexts that bring forth conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, such as continued economic deprivation, exclusion, alienation, separation and marginalization of people, and the forced dismantling of political, legal, security and socio-cultural institutions; [Ad Ref]

o The deep impact and legacy of historical injustices done to colonized peoples or those under occupation, their sufferings and the forced destruction of their national institutions, culture and identity, and the denial of their rights to self-determination.

o The potential of external actors penetrating terrorist and extremist groups for the purpose of serving their own political agenda, and the threat of non-Arab and non-Muslim fighters. [Ad Ref]

o The need to counter all types of radical extremist discourse, including through the media and new communications technologies, particularly the Internet, in order to delegitimize the violent and manipulative acts committed in the name of religion, ideology or claims of cultural superiority. [Ad Ref]

12. The OIC stresses the importance of integrating youth and women in the efforts and decision-making processes regarding violent extremism, underscoring that children and youth represent future of society and that the failure to protect their rights can contribute to an environment conducive to crime and violent extremism. In this regard, the OIC recalls and welcomes the Security Council open debate on “the role of youth in countering violent extremism and promoting peace”, under Jordan's Presidency of the Security Council in April 2015, which brought this important matter to the international community, and served as a transparent and vital platform to discuss member states’ views on this matter. [Ad Ref]

13. The OIC expresses serious concern over the increase of intolerance and discrimination against Muslims resulting in the upsurge of Islamophobia, a phenomenon, which is an affront to the human rights and dignity of Muslims. In this connection, OIC recalls the Human Rights Council Resolution titled “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief” (A/HRC/Res/16/18) as an important tool to counter radicalization, marginalization and alienation, and calls for its effective implementation by the international community as a means to deprive terrorist groups of any justification for violent extremism on the grounds of ethno-religious stigmatization and discrimination. [Ad Ref]

14. In this regard, the OIC calls upon all States to prevent any advocacy of religious discrimination, hostility, or violence and defamation of Islam by incorporating legal and administrative measures, which render defamation illegal and punishable by law, and also urges all Member and Observer Statesto adopt specific and relevant educational measures at all levels. [Ad Ref]

15. The OIC recognizes the importance of interfaith and intercultural dialogue, as an effective mechanism to combat extremism and incitement to hatred based on religion; and in this regard, also recognizes the efforts made by the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Inter Cultural Dialogue. [Ad Ref]

16. The OIC reaffirms the need for effective and comprehensive implementation of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and the need for a robust follow-up mechanism to be in place. [Ad Ref]

17. The OIC considers it imperative to respect the views and positions of Member and Observer States and the necessity to develop consensus by taking them into account during consideration of relevant agenda items of the General Assembly and other relevant processes. [Ad Ref]

18. In conclusion, Mr. President, the OIC Member States support the draft resolution A/70/ L.41, welcoming the efforts of the Secretary General and taking note of his plan of action to prevent violent extremism. Toward this end, the OIC stands ready to engage positively with all member and observer states in studying the Secretary General's Plan thoroughly and constructively.