"We cannot allow the messages of extremists to drown out the voices of the moderate"

Statement by the Political Counsellor of the UK Mission to the UN, to the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Open Briefing

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


I thank you Madam Chair and I shall be concise. Thank you Minister for your briefing this morning. Let me join others here today in expressing our solidarity with the people of France and in offering our profound condolences once again to you, and to all those affected by the attacks in Paris earlier this year.

I’m pleased that my Prime Minister and Home Secretary were able to join you in Paris on 11 January to show our support and our unity. The targeting of Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher supermarket was an attack not only on France but on all of us. It was an attack on free speech and democracy, and sadly, it was an attack that could have happened in any of our countries. Whether targeting the streets of Paris or the schools of Pakistan, this poisonous, extremist ideology presents a generational challenge to the international community.

The ideology is a driver of terrorism. We have seen its consequences on the streets of London too. It opposes, and targets, our fundamental values of freedom of expression, the rule of law, and respect and tolerance toward different faiths and beliefs. We must challenge this ideology, and in doing so, be clear on the importance of those fundamental values that we share and espouse.

And addressing extremist propaganda will absolutely be a crucial part of this. Their messages of hate are too widely available, particularly online, and have become an influential method of radicalising individuals. We cannot allow those messages, the messages of extremists, to drown out the voices of the moderate. So we must continue to work to counter violent extremism, including radicalisation via the internet.

So we firmly support work to strengthen information and international data sharing to achieve this goal. We will continue to work very closely with France and with other members of this Committee to achieve this. It is through such cooperation and solidarity that we have to tackle the threat from terrorism, and ensure that what happened in Paris is never repeated elsewhere.

Thank you Madam Chair.

Published 10 February 2015