Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the debate of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly on the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking to the President Likketoft, for convening this meeting to discuss the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
Ukraine welcomes the adoption of the Resolution, endorsing this timely initiative.
The year 2015 has been marked by a number of important events that put the issue of the prevention of violent extremism high on the global agenda. It started with the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism hosted by the US President Barack Obama, followed by a number of regional conferences and the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism, held on the margins of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his personal commitment to this goal and for his Plan of Action that has capped all the above-mentioned endeavours. It is a highly anticipated initiative, aimed at elaborating a comprehensive approach with long-term actions to address the violent extremism and its root causes.
Both the violent extremism and its gravest form - the terrorism - threaten our core values and principles, including human rights, the rule of law, democracy, equal opportunity and freedom. Moreover, the negative impact of violent extremist ideology, propagated all over the world by such terrorist entities like ISIL and its affiliates, raises our concern.
It goes without saying that fighting violent extremism only through military means does not have a long-lasting effect. Having eliminated its manifestations in one region but failing to remove the root causes, this threat is dwelling on, will just entail its outbreak elsewhere in the world.
Only by combining countering and prevention measures, more nuanced and comprehensive, that address governance deficit, promotes social development and dialogue, respect for the rule of law and human rights, strategic communications, engagement of women and youth, investing in human capital and job creation, education, public-private partnerships will help us to reduce the appeal of and support for extremist groups, and enhance resilience against them.
The respective narratives were fed into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reflected in recently adopted Resolution on Youth, Peace and Security and other relevant UN instruments.
We totally agree with the Secretary-General that “the creation of open, equitable, inclusive and pluralist societies, based on the full respect of human rights and with economic opportunities for all” will in long perspective “represent the most tangible and meaningful alternative to violent extremism and the most promising strategy for rendering it unattractive”.
Having this in mind, Ukraine has recently adopted the National Human Rights Strategy and the Implementation Plan thereof in addition to an existing legislation measures aimed at building a harmonious society and preventing its radicalization.
Certainly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to achieve this goal. But, in our view, our collective response to this threat should be focused on addressing underlying factors that provide opportunities for violent extremism to flourish, such as corruption and poor governance, marginalization and discrimination that may cause mass grievances, human rights violations as well as prolonged and unresolved conflicts.
Speaking of the latter, we resolutely condemn any acts of external meddling, aimed at escalating motiveless tensions inside the society leading to the conflicts’ outbreak, and at the same time any further means of their incitement, inter alia, by providing support to and financing violent extremists.
Ukraine, like no other country, takes seriously the threat, posed by violent extremism and terrorism, being a target of the aggression of the Russian Federation that started in February 2014 with the occupation of Crimea and continued with the military operation in Ukraine’s Donbas.
The terrorist component in the undeclared war against Ukraine is clearly visible and became an important phenomenon in the everyday life of the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. The Russia-backed terrorists` seizure of control over certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in April-May 2014 was followed by massive violation of human rights, including taking of hostages, torturing, disappearance and killing of loyal Ukrainian citizens, expropriation of the state and private property, including administrative premises, business and trade locations.
It is obvious that without significant financial, material and military assistance from the aggressor state the territories, uncontrolled by the Government, are not even capable to survive. Therefore, despite all international efforts, the Russian Federation continues to export terrorism to Ukraine, by supplying weapons, including heavy ones, to the illegal armed groups and training their members, as well as organizing recruitment of former Russian military and law-enforcement servicemen and their transfer to the East of Ukraine to strengthen combat capabilities of local terrorists.
We took note of a number of credible recommendations in the Plan of Action relating to the efforts of the Member States in preventing violent extremism. However, there is less reflection of how the United Nations might more effectively mainstream our joint efforts through its instruments that can allow more long-term and sustainable engagement at national level.
Thus, we expect active engagement of all relevant UN actors in this process in terms of providing us with full support from the UN side in ways of comprehensive guidance, technical support programs.
Ukraine supports the call for further consideration of this Plan of Action both during the review process of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy this June as well as in other relevant international fora.
In this regard, we commend the initiative of the Government of Switzerland to host an International Conference on the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism in Geneva on 7–8 April 2016.
We look forward to extensive expert and high-level discussions on exploring possibilities for UN and its Member States to redouble their joint efforts in responding to the evolving threat of violent extremism.
I thank you for your attention.