Thank you for convening this meeting. I would also like to thank Under-Secretary-General Voronkov, Executive Director Gherman and Ms Farida Khalaf for their presentations.
As the Swiss President emphasized in March, and I quote: "the confidence of our populations is absolutely essential if we are to deprive terrorism of its breeding ground in the long term". He named four elements necessary to achieve this: the rule of law, prevention, partnerships and inclusion. These elements are also found in the New Agenda for Peace.
The terrorist threat, particularly in conflict zones, is becoming more complex. In his report, the Secretary General establishes the extent to which the regional affiliates of ISIS are becoming more autonomous and interwoven with local dynamics. In the light of these worrying developments, it is all the more imperative to invest in these four areas to break the cycle of violence. Our responses must take into account the many political, economic and social causes of terrorism and fully respect international law. Inclusive dialogue and strengthened international, regional and local cooperation render our responses more effective.
On this basis, allow me to develop two points:
Firstly, the fight against terrorism must always take place within the framework of international law. To terrorism, which denies human rights, we must respond by protecting and strengthening those same rights! Ms Khalaf explained how terrorist groups use various forms of sexual and gender-based violence to destroy and control communities, displace populations, spread fear and advance their cause. Our responses to such atrocities must focus on the victims. Violence must not be repeated. The perpetrators must be brought to justice. Civil society and human rights defenders are crucial partners in this task and must be able to operate in a safe and respectful environment.
Secondly, access to new technologies by terrorist groups and their affiliates represents a major risk. The use, for example, of social networks or virtual currency to spread hatred, prepare attacks and finance terrorist activities must be countered. At the same time, we must not hinder the vast possibilities that new technologies can offer our societies simply for fear of misuse. On the contrary, they can also be an instrument for effectively preventing and combating terrorism - but only if they are used in accordance with international law, human rights law and international humanitarian law. Switzerland welcomes an inclusive dialogue with key partners - civil society, the private sector and academia. We should discuss on how we can use new technological developments to our advantage. The objective is to prevent and counter the threat posed by Da'esh and other designated terrorist groups as part of our common efforts.
In conclusion, it is imperative that we invest more in the prevention of conflict and violent extremism, in humanitarian protection and in the respect and promotion of human rights and international humanitarian law, including rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance.
Failure to do so will only serve to exacerbate the conditions conducive to terrorism. If we seek to contain the threat posed by terrorist organizations, we must address the grievances that these organizations exploit and we must offer alternatives based on adherence to the rule of law and open, prosperous and inclusive societies.
I thank you.