"The United Nations General Assembly declares with one voice that we stand united against violent extremism"

Statement by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft to the UN General Assembly meeting on Preventing Violent Extremism

UN Building

Thank you Mr President,

The United Kingdom strongly endorses, supports and welcomes the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action for Preventing Violent Extremism.

By welcoming the initiative today, the United Nations General Assembly declares with one voice that we stand united, united against violent extremism, united in defiance of their hatred and united in solidarity with their victims.

We have all shared the sorrow, the anger, the pain that the acts of these groups bring; groups like Da’esh, Al Qaida and Boko Haram.

The Plan the Secretary-General has presented is pragmatic, comprehensive and flexible enough to adapt to the evolving threat. It offers Member States and the entire UN system a strong foundation for better coordination, and it contains recommendations for action that we must all consider.

And I’d like to draw attention in particular to the Plan’s call for robust National Action Plans, designed in consultation with civil society and communities, and founded on respect for human rights and the rule of law. If we are to succeed, all states must act on this concrete recommendation in their different ways.

The United Kingdom looks forward to contributing our experiences and analysis to tackle the threat and its root causes and to learn from others.

Our national approach centres on partnership; with faith and other communities, with civil society, with the private sector, with young people and other individuals. We do this across the whole of government, including front-line agencies, because violent extremism is too complex a challenge for any single body to solve.

Everything we do – whether domestically or internationally – is calibrated to support this agenda.

But of course, every Member State has its own, unique circumstances and solutions to the challenges of violent extremism. So let us all share our experiences in a spirit of dialogue, and in turn learn from best practice elsewhere.

Today is just the beginning of that conversation. But we’re hearing today some different points of view. I welcome that. Debate is healthy and this is a complex issue. The United Kingdom looks forward to continuing the discussion in the coming weeks. The Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism in April announced by our Swiss colleagues is an excellent opportunity to pursue the debate and we hope for full attendance.

But Mr President as we exchange views, we should be mindful that the terrorists and extremists are also watching and listening to us. And so they need to know that today we have shown our determination to take action. We have shown that what unites us against their threat far outweighs that which divides us. And by focusing on the root causes of terrorist violence, we prove our commitment to preventing – and not just to countering - this threat.

Thank you.

Published 12 February 2016