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HRC31: Nordic Statement Panel Debate on Preventing Violent Extremism, 17 March 2016.

HRC31: Nordic statement on the role of human rights in preventing violent extremism.

17.03.2016  16:27

Human Rights Council 31 Session.
Nordic Statement Panel Debate on Preventing Violent Extremism, 17 March 2016.
Ambassador Steffen Kongstad.

Mr. President,

I have the pleasure to speak on behalf of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

A large proportion of violent extremist groups and individuals seek legitimacy from political, ideological or religious ideas, often both inspired by a global agenda and rooted in local grievances. Perceived injustices, deprivation of rights, dignity and opportunities can nurture recruitment.  No country is immune.  We can only tackle it by working together.
Extremist groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram and al-Shaabab continue to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. This includes sexual enslavement, child and forced marriages and denial of girls’ and women’s rights to education. A carefully designed gender-focused approach is needed, also as it is not only men that take on roles as participants and facilitators of violent extremism.

The Nordic countries believe that human rights, democracy and the rule of law should be of particular concern in the fight against violent extremism. We must also be vigilant that state security forces address violent extremism in full in accordance with our obligations under international law, including international human rights law. We need to end impunity for all those that commit violations and crimes under international law.

The Nordic countries fully support the Secretary General’s Plan of Action for Preventing Violent Extremism. We appreciate its explicit emphasis on prevention. We believe that the UNs role in coordinating global efforts against violent extremism should be strengthened.

Finally, we are concerned that extremist groups often target human rights defenders, civil society and journalists.  Those defending the human rights of others should not become targeted by States in their efforts to counter violent extremism. The engagement of civil society is crucial to shift social norms towards a culture of non-violence.

What is the view of the panel regarding the role of civil society and human rights defenders in preventing violent extremism?