“No age, no culture, no religion, no nationality and no region is immune. [al terrorismo]but the situation in Africa is particularly worrying”, said the Secretary General of the United Nations this Tuesday before the Security Council.
In a high-level debate on preventing extremism and countering terrorism, António Guterres noted that despair, poverty, hunger, lack of basic services, unemployment and unconstitutional changes in government continue to be fertile ground for the progressive expansion of terrorist groups on the African continent.
With great alarm, he cited advances by terrorist groups in the Sahel and other parts of Africa.
“Community by community, they are trying to extend their reach. The trail of terror is widening with fighters, funds and weapons increasingly flowing between regions and across the continent, and with new alliances being forged with organized crime and hacking groups,” Guterres said.
He added that the The internet provides these groups with a global platform to spread violent ideologies. and promote lies, hate and misinformation, taking advantage of the fears and vulnerabilities of people who suffer from inequality and exclusion, and exploiting the weaknesses and instability of political, economic and security systems.
Those organizations also flout the rule of lawinternational human rights law, humanitarian law, refugee law, and other international norms and standards, as well as the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Despite this difficult panorama, António Guterres resorted to an optimistic note when he affirmed that just as terrorism separates people, fighting it can unite countries.
As an example, he cited regional anti-terrorism initiatives implemented in the Sahel, the Lake Chad basin and Mozambiqueamong other.
In this line, he argued that the UN fully supports Africa in efforts to put an end to that scourge.
He General secretary He listed the instances and strategies of the Organization to combat terrorism, as well as the close collaboration with the African Union and the regional and subregional organizations of that continent.
He explained that the The UN assists African States in the areas of prevention, legal assistance, investigationsprosecutions, reintegration and rehabilitation, and protection of human rights.
He also announced that, together with Nigeria, the UN will sponsor the next African Summit against Terrorism.
He also reported that he advocates the establishment of new peacekeeping missions and counterterrorism operations led by the African Union with a Security Council mandate under Chapter VII and with funding guaranteed by fixed contributions.
Respect for human rights
On the other hand, Guterres stressed that the fight against terrorism must contemplate absolute respect for human rights and recalled that it has been proven that the efforts of this fight Anchored in security policies that are detrimental to fundamental guarantees, they lead to marginalization and exclusionfurther aggravating tensions.
Once again, the head of the UN called for opt for preventionwhich implies attacking the socioeconomic conditions that usually lead to terrorist militancy and spoke out for the social inclusion of all minorities.
In conclusion, he endorsed the Organization’s commitment to the defense of essential rights and the dignity of the victims and survivors of terrorism.
“It is in their name, and in the memory of those who have been killed by terrorism and violent extremism, that we will continue our work to put an end to this scourge once and for all,” Guterres said.
An orchestrated global response is required
The debate in the Security Council was organized by Mozambique, the country that chairs that body in March, and included the participation of the Mozambican presidents, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi; Ghanaian, Nana Addo Dankwa; and Swiss, Alain Berset; as well as the Vice President of Gabon, Christiane Raponda, and various ministers.
The president of the African Union, Azali Assoumani, was another of the speakers at the session who, in his turn at the microphone, asserted that terrorism in a complex phenomenon that requires a global and orchestrated response.
Assoumani indicated that although terrorism is a long-standing problem, its accelerated expansion in Africa began as a result of the crisis in Libya in 2011.
“That crisis gave rise to the arrival of thousands of foreign fighters and mercenaries in the Sahel and caused the establishment of terrorist organizations in Africa and caused the uncontrolled circulation of weapons”, he explained.
Assoumani highlighted the African efforts in favor of peace, security and stability on the continent based on sharing relevant information and carrying out coordinated operations.
The president of the African Union stressed the importance of having the necessary funds to implement the strategies for the prevention of terrorism and requested the support of the international community in this regard.
“Time is not on our side. We must fight against poverty and exclusion with skills-building, equal opportunity and employment policies for young people, who are often the most prized prey for extremists. (…) But what we most need are stronger global actions, more coordinated, more innovative, more timely, more lasting and more supportive”, pointed out Assoumani.