WASHINGTON: More than 60 countries which participated in a White House summit have concluded that using force alone to curb extremism can exacerbate the problem and suggested a multi-pronged approach, which includes methods to win hearts and minds.
They also stressed that terms like “violent extremism” and “terrorism”, should “not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation, or ethnic group”.
The participants also “reaffirmed their determination to stand against any manifestation of religious-based discrimination wherever it may reveal itself”.
The three-day summit to counter violent extremism, which ended on Friday, also brought dozens of international organisations, including the UN, EU, OIC and the Arab League, to the US capital.
In a joint statement issued after the ministerial meeting, the participants reaffirmed that intelligence gathering, military force, and law-enforcement “alone will not solve — and when misused can in fact exacerbate — the problem of violent extremism”.
Instead, they stressed the need of following comprehensive rule of law and community-based strategies to deal with these issues.
“Like all measures aimed at addressing the terrorist threat, (these strategies) should (also) be developed and implemented in full compliance with international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law, as well as with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter,” the statement said.
The participants condemned the recent terrorist attacks in places such as Afghanistan, Denmark, Egypt, France, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, as well as in Iraq and Syria and other countries.
They underscored the need to resolve crises and prevent new conflicts that provide opportunities for terrorists to flourish.
They noted that groups like Da’esh, Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Ansar Al-Sharia entities, Boko Haram, and Al-Shabaab, were recruiting terrorists who were willing to conduct attacks in their home countries and to travel overseas for this purpose.
The summit reaffirmed the central role of the UN in efforts to address violent extremism and the comprehensive framework that the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy offers for addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.
The world’s major powers and their allies warned that violent extremists might seek to destabilise governments and sow internal frictions within societies. They underscored “the importance of upholding and preserving democratic principles, and promoting the rule of law to address these challenges”.
The participants highlighted the need to explore how development and other relevant foreign assistance could contribute to addressing populations at risk of recruitment by violent extremists and the conditions conducive to radicalisation to violence.
The participating nations agreed to hold a leaders-level summit on the margins of the United National General Assembly in September this year.
Published in Dawn February 21th , 2015