Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev has called for an “upgrade” to the United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy, but emphasised the role of Unesco in defeating the “ideology of terrorism” during an address to the organisation’s general conference, which marked Unesco’s 70th anniversary.
Speaking in Paris, where the organisation’s headquarters are, just days after the string of attacks that left at least 129 people dead, Plevneliev said that “terrorist attacks all over the world have shown that violent extremism transcends national borders,” but also that “no one is born a terrorist”.
Terrorist fighters would certainly be defeated by the international antiterrorist coalition, but that required “a comprehensive, multilateral and all-inclusive approach”, with close co-operation between governments, but also the civil society, local communities and media, Plevneliev said.
“The international community has to upgrade the UN global counter-terrorism strategy and once again reaffirm its commitment to the fight against terrorism. An urgent adoption of a new result-oriented’ action plan is of the utmost importance,” he said.
Plevneliev said that a united Europe, one that recovered from two world wars, had the experience and the capacity to be the leader of this international effort, but it needed more, not less, integration. “The modern history of Europe gives a unique example to the world that peace is only possible when nations reach such a high level of integration and cooperation that makes future war impossible,” he said.
To cut off the roots of terrorism, what was needed was investing more effort in “institution building, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Providing an economic perspective on site for conflict-affected societies is of primary importance.”
“There are many young people that have no jobs, no perspective and no goals in life. Radicalism is just a step away. Today’s social integration policies need to be improved and become more inclusive. Marginalization has no ethnicity, religion or skin colour,” Plevneliev said.
Policies to prevent the radicalisation of marginalised groups and ensuring integration through education, dialogue and active citizenship were needed. “Unesco is a unique organization and has an important role to play. We have all the right tools – promoting cultural and religious dialogue, preventing youth radicalization through education for all, sharing scientific knowledge for the better future of mankind,” Plevneliev said.
(Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev addresses Unesco’s general conference on November 16 2015. Photo: president.bg)