The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.


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Statements and Speeches

Statement by Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “Countering the Narratives and Ideologies of Terrorism”, in Connection with Agenda Item “Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts”

11 May 2016

Mr President,

My delegation would like to congratulate Egypt for assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for this month and wish to express our appreciation for convening this important debate on countering the narratives and ideologies of terrorism. We also thank you for providing us with a comprehensive concept note to guide our discussions.

Mr President,

Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians, including women and children, by increasingly ambitious terrorist groups persist with alarming frequency across the world, leading to untold human suffering and provoking an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in some regions of the world.

Terrorist groups adept at the use of modern communication technologies to recruit, incite violence and spread their distorted ideologies of hate and intolerance, pose a serious and ever more complex threat to international peace and security. Through fear and force they sow instability and continue to deprive those they control of the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The threat of terrorism is universal, transcending borders and and no country can declare itself free of this scourge. Similarly, no country can deal with it on its own.

For this reason it is important that the international community adopt adequate measures to counter it. The United Nations, with the broad range of expertise and tools at its disposal, is best placed to lead the coordination of international efforts in this regard. South Africa continues to support the central role of the United Nations in countering terrorism and strengthening the multilateral system to take effective measures within the framework of the UN Charter and international law. Initiatives to support improved coordination and cooperation among UN entities involved in countering terrorism and improved coordination between the UN and regional structures should be encouraged and supported.

We acknowledge the work being done by the General Assembly and Security Council in guiding the international community’s response to this challenge. The General Assembly with its universal membership has a valuable contribution to make, especially with regard to the upcoming review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which together with the Secretary-General’s Plan to Prevent Violent Extremism will provide a valuable opportunity for all Member States to assess progress thus far and make recommendations for more effective cooperation in countering terrorism, particularly with regard to the creation of new mechanisms. It is my delegation’s view that the creation of any new mechanism should be measured against its contribution to facilitating and assisting international efforts to counter terrorism, rather than duplicating work already been done in other structures.

South Africa continues to support a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to dealing with terrorism in all its complexity.  Terrorism cannot be defeated militarily and cannot be dealt with solely through the use of force or coercive measures. To counter the narratives and ideologies of terrorism in the medium- to long-term, international cooperation must also address the factors that give rise to terrorism.

There is an urgent need to understand and address the conditions and contexts that make terrorism an attractive option to the disaffected. Engagement, including through education, eliminating inequalities and working with disadvantaged groups of society, particularly the youth, and developing appropriate strategies at the national, regional, and international level remain critical. There is no one-size fits all approach in countering this threat - it is up to each sub-region and country to contextualize its specific conditions and take appropriate actions in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and observance of international law.

Mr President,

Terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization. We therefore welcome and support initiatives and efforts that promote dialogue, tolerance, diversity and understanding among peoples, cultures and religions. Acts of mobilization directed against individuals, communities or nations, simply because of their faith, language or race cannot be justified.

The international community should seek political solutions to resolve long outstanding conflicts. In this context terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggles of peoples under foreign occupation to achieve their inalienable right to self-determination as recognised by the United Nations.

In conclusion, Mr President, I would like to reiterate my delegation’s commitment to continue working within the United Nations and other multilateral structures to seek ways of countering the threat posed to international peace and security by terrorist acts effectively and efficiently.

I thank you.