U.N. chief urges ‘unified’ effort to prevent terrorism

Ban Ki-moon said promote sustainable development and ensure that youths, the prime target of extremist recruiters, are occupied

Published: Updated:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called for a “unified” global response to prevent terrorism that puts respect for human rights at the “forefront”.

“Our response needs to be unified and multidimensional,” he said in a closing address to an international conference on preventing extremism by the Madrid Club group of former global leaders and heads of state.

“Human rights must be at the forefront of our response,” he added.

People who are drawn to extremism are often “frustrated” and “radicalized by what they see around them,” Ban said.

“This includes violence, injustice and heavy handed security responses.”

Ban also said that world leaders have failed to fully comprehend the message of the Arab Spring, the popular uprisings that toppled autocratic leaders across the Arab world.

“When the Arab Spring happened in 2011, I urged leaders in the region to please listen carefully and sincerely what their messages are, what are their aspirations. But they have not listened carefully,” he said.

The U.N. chief said governments need to fight poverty and inequality, promote sustainable development and ensure that youths - the prime target of extremist recruiters - are occupied.

Ban recalled that at the beginning of next year, either January or February, he will present a global plan to fight terrorism.

About 200 experts and around 40 former heads of state took part in the two-day gathering in Madrid to discuss ways to prevent extremism.