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Homeland Security

At UN meeting, countries offer practical steps for countering terrorism

18 May 2007 From sharing best practices on preventing radicalization to ensuring that the voices of victims are heard, United Nations Member States, regional organizations and civil society groups have wrapped up a symposium in Vienna on counter-terrorism by proposing a raft of practical measures to defeat the scourge.

The two-day symposium – the first major forum on the issue since the landmark UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was adopted at the General Assembly last September – concluded with calls for Member States to work together more closely to try to put an end to terrorist activity.

In his concluding remarks, Assistant Secretary-General Bob Orr, Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, said he was heartened that so many participants at the symposium acknowledged that the main responsibility for implementing the Strategy lay with Member States.

He also welcomed the many suggestions and proposals offered at the meeting, many of which envision the Task Force playing a crucial role to help Member States and regional groups to implement the Strategy.

The proposals include: ensuring that the voices of terrorist victims are heard, and facilitating a dialogue between victims and States; sharing best practices on preventing radicalization; countering the growing terrorist use of the Internet; incorporating human rights obligations into all aspects of counter-terrorism work; sharing experiences on protecting vulnerable targets, such as users of mass transport; and ensuring the Strategy is carried out in an integrated manner.

Adopted after a year of often fractious negotiations, the Strategy includes practical steps at the local, national and international level – ranging from strengthening the capacity of individual States to prevent and combat terrorism to ensuring that human rights and the rule of law are always respected in the fight against the scourge.

It also calls for measures to enhance the role of the UN system to deal with terrorism, and to make sure that the world body’s efforts are better coordinated.

The Vienna symposium was convened jointly by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Austria.

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