‘Positive’ community building helps combat hate online: UN counter-terrorism chair

29 May 2018

In an increasingly interconnected world, the glorification of terrorism online impacts everyone, the chair of a United Nations counter-terrorism body said on Tuesday, calling for a renewed effort to combat hateful propaganda and promote community solidarity.

Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez, the Peruvian Ambassador to the UN, and chair of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, said that although it was important to deny voices that incite and glorify violence access to the internet, the huge public benefits of being online, had to be acknowledged.

“Every measure taken to fight against terrorist narratives, like all counter-terrorism measures, must be in line with international human rights law, including the rights to privacy and freedom of expression,” he said.

In that context, Mr. Meza-Cuadra highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships to keep the Internet space “as hostile as possible to terrorist groups,” while at the same time “as open as possible for society at large”, pointing to the Comprehensive International Framework to Counter Terrorist Narratives.

Effective counter-narratives should include positive messaging that promotes community solidarity – Counter-Terrorism Committee chairperson

Adopted in 2017, the Framework consists of three elements: legal and law enforcement measures, based on relevant United Nations resolutions; the development of public-private partnerships; and the development of counter-narratives, that push back against terrorist propaganda.

In his remarks, Mr. Meza-Cuadra said that in addition to counter-narratives, positive messages must be amplified, so that vulnerable audiences are given assurances that genuine concerns are being addressed, without resorting to violence.

“Effective counter-narratives should include positive messaging that promotes community solidarity and peaceful avenues for addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. This is one way to achieve effective and long-term results,” he said.