Information exchange and building capacity in South-East Asia were central elements in a United Nations-backed workshop on counter-terrorism which concluded today in Bali, Indonesia.
The regional workshop – organized by the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (UNCTITF) in collaboration with the Government of Indonesia – was part of UN efforts to raise awareness and build in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Strategy amongst countries and relevant regional and sub-regional organizations. It also aims to make the UN counter-terrorism framework more relevant for the practical needs on the national, sub-regional and regional level.
“The adoption of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in 2006 by the General Assembly through consensus was a landmark achievement and a signature from all Member States that terrorism must be tackled in a coordinated, comprehensive, preventive and holistic manner,” said the Chairman of the UNCTITF, Jean-Paul Laborde.
He added that while counter-terrorism efforts must necessarily continue to focus on security and law enforcement, the value of educational curricula, promotion of tolerance and protection of human rights must also be upheld.
Indonesia’s Vice Foreign Minister, Mr. Triyono Wibowo, delivered the keynote speech at the opening session of the two-day event on Thursday, noting in his remarks that the Strategy represents the first time that all UN Member States have agreed to a common approach “to fight terrorism, not only by sending a clear message that terrorism is unacceptable but also resolving to take practical steps, individually and collectively, to prevent it.”
About 70 senior officials, national counter-terrorism focal points, counter-terrorism practitioners, and development experts took part in the workshop, which focussed on key areas in developing a broader approach to counter-terrorism, including developing educational curricula to promote tolerance, counter violent extremism and build capacity for non-violent conflict resolution; community policing; the development of national criminal justice systems in the region and the protection of human rights as a fundamental basis for countering terrorism.
Participants also discussed the continuing threat of terrorism despite considerable success in dismantling terror networks through cooperation, and stressed the need for the international community to strengthen, sustain and support capacity-building efforts for counter-terrorism programmes in the region. Recommendations included involving more governmental departments, including development and finance ministries, as well as civil society organizations and groups representing victims of terrorism.