Geneva: The vast majority of victims of violent extremism and terrorism worldwide are Muslims and the objective of extremists "is for us to turn on each other [and] our unity is the ultimate rebuke for that bankrupt strategy," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday.
He underscored that the action plan he presented to the United Nations General Assembly in January contains concrete recommendations and could be the basis of a global partnership to defeat violent extremism.
While it may be inevitable to draw on examples, such as Islamic State (IS) or Boko Haram, "the phenomenon of violent extremism conducive to terrorism is not rooted or confined to any religion, region, nationality or ethnic group,"
The Secretary-General told the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism - The Way Forward, co-hosted by the Government of Switzerland and the UN. Ban stressed: "Let us also recognise that today, the vast majority of victims worldwide are Muslims."
Violent extremists seek to divide communities and the goal is to let fear rule, he said. "Let this conference - and our unity today - be the ultimate rebuke to that bankrupt strategy."
Violent extremists pose a direct threat to the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They undermine collective global efforts to maintain peace and security, foster sustainable development, promote the respect for human rights and deliver much needed humanitarian aid, said the UN chief.
Violent extremism is clearly a transnational threat that requires urgent international cooperation, Ban said, explaining that his Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism puts forward a comprehensive and balanced approach for concerted action at the global, regional and national levels.
Ban expressed hope that discussions will galvanise unity for a strong consensus outcome in the Assembly in June.