I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends of Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism, which was officially launched on 7 September 2016. This Group is co-chaired by the USA and Morocco. It is a cross-regional representation of countries. We wish to underscore our commitment to preventing and countering violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations, while respecting, protecting, and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We reaffirm that violent extremism is a global threat, which cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, political or ethnic group. We also underscore that actions by states to prevent or counter violent extremism must not infringe on human rights. In this context, we are of the view that only a holistic and inclusive approach, based on international cooperation, and where education, security, development, human rights, democracy and the rule of law are interlinked, could have a tangible impact in preventing and countering violent extremism, while promoting and protecting human rights.
This Group of Friends has joined together to promote and help advance the implementation of the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism on topics relevant to our work in Geneva. In particular, this Group of Friends promotes substantive dialogue on the human rights dimensions of preventing and countering violent extremism in Geneva with the aim of sharing lessons learned and best practices, promoting international cooperation and collaboration, and developing and implementing approaches to prevent and counter violent extremism. We hope to serve as a platform for promoting this agenda in Geneva and work with other States, National Human Rights Institutions, experts, and civil society. We underline the need for effective coordination and information sharing within the UN and between States, the relevant UN entities and the relevant international, regional, and sub-regional organizations and forums.
We thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Report on best practices and lessons learned on how protecting and promoting human rights contribute to preventing and countering violent extremism (A/HRC/33/29). We believe that preventing and countering violent extremism and the effective promotion and protection of human rights are mutually reinforcing. In the context of the work of the Human Rights Council, we attach particular importance to international human rights education and capacity building as a means of countering all forms of violent extremism; and we commend the work of the High Commissioner in this regard.
As members and observers of the Human Rights Council, we believe that the international community should continue to build upon the UN Charter and prior work of this and other UN bodies on this critical issue. We intend to work to promote and continue to advance better understanding of and strong language in appropriate resolutions on respecting, protecting, and human rights in preventing and countering violent extremism, consistent with Pillars I, III, and IV of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We look forward to further attention to this topic in the Council.