Mr President,

I would first like to thank you for holding this debate on such an important subject. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the briefing that was given to us earlier, and the President of the Comoros and Chairman of the African Union for his speech.

What we must note, dear colleagues, is that, despite the persistent efforts of this Council, despite the tireless commitment of international and regional organisations, terrorism persists.

We must also note that this is a serious threat to peace, a threat to security, but above all it is a threat that constantly changes its appearance, that adapts, so to speak, to contexts that are themselves constantly changing.

And I think the Secretary General very rightly repeated it in his last report on the threat posed by Daech: Terrorism and violent extremism find fertile ground to spread in current conflicts and in all kinds of instability.

So it's probably much easier in these contexts to recruit, to spread hateful ideologies and to incite violence.

This is a risk that exists everywhere, but this trend has been particularly alarming on the African continent recently. You mentioned Cabo Delgado, Mr. President, with a situation that still occupies your country. I had the opportunity to see this for myself in February this year during a visit to Mozambique. I would like to thank you again, Mr. President, for this opportunity to go on this field visit with you to the north of the country and to see the situation directly on the spot.

What we see in this context is that new terrorist groups are emerging. We also see that existing armed groups are joining organisations designated as terrorists by the United Nations, and that these threats continue to claim victims, continue to tear societies apart and destabilise economies.

I believe, Mr President, dear colleagues, that we must change this. To change this, we must break this cycle of violence.

What is the answer?

We know the necessary elements: the rule of law, prevention - the President of the Comoros and Chairman of the African Union mentioned this very clearly earlier today - partnerships and inclusion.

First of all, we must ensure full respect for international law. I am referring here in particular to international humanitarian law, but also, of course, to human rights and of course to refugee law.

What does it mean to respect the rule of law? Well, first of all, it means that anti-terrorist operations must not be used as a pretext for not respecting the rules that protect civilian populations, nor for removing political opponents.

Respecting the rule of law also means that we must ensure that humanitarian aid reaches every person in need without delay and without hindrance.

It also means taking into account the special situation of children and considering children associated with terrorist groups as victims. 

Switzerland has supported the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to develop a manual containing guidelines for policy makers and practitioners on the psychosocial assessment of children associated with criminal and armed groups. This is a dimension that I think is particularly important in this debate.

Mr. President,

Peace, security and prosperity are the best responses to ideologies that incite terrorist or extremist violence.

That is why we must confront all current and future global challenges. In other words: confront everything that creates and sustains instability.

And after talking about children - this is a dimension I really wanted to include in this debate - I would also like to talk about the problems posed by climate change in this context.

Extreme weather and desertification fuel disputes and conflicts and trigger migratory flows, which are often uncontrolled. This can obviously aggravate conflicts and be exploited by violent terrorist and extremist groups.

And I mention this here because it is also for this reason and in this context that Switzerland is working with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research and the United Nations University on a project that demonstrates this relationship between climate-related subsistence difficulties, on the one hand, and the recruitment of armed groups, on the other, in the Lake Chad basin.

And I think that's what we have to bear in mind, that the problems are linked, and in a way feed each other. This is also why I wanted to talk about climate change, and as President Nyusi said just now, the response must be global, and it must also be holistic. You can't just solve the problem by taking a small piece in isolation: you have to look at the whole picture, which is what we need to focus on.

And it is also in this context that the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy - and its four pillars, which I mentioned earlier - provides a set of measures which, implemented in a balanced way, are an excellent tool for moving forward together. It is a strategy that is also a symbol of our unity.

President Nyusi has given us some ideas, some food for thought, for the review that awaits us. One element seems important to me in this context: at each revision of the strategy, we have been able to find a consensus.

This consensus is one of the best responses we can give to those who seek to divide us. We should strive to consolidate it with the current 8th revision.

We should not forget that regional and sub-regional organisations are particularly important for understanding the dynamics on the ground.

It is therefore necessary to promote closer collaboration with them, to have better coordination of initiatives in this field, and to emphasise that it is essential to address the root causes of the problem. This problem cannot be seen only as a purely military or security problem: it must be seen globally.

In this context, Switzerland has developed a training programme on prevention - which the President of the Comoros mentioned earlier - with the Member States of the African Union, in partnership with the Union's African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism. In this respect, I can only stress the importance of prevention.

To conclude my speech, Mr President, partnerships, inclusion and the rule of law are necessary, absolutely essential, in the fight against violent extremism and terrorism. In such a context, we must ensure that women, young people and civil society are recognised in their role as actors of change and peace, and always in full compliance with international law.

Because otherwise, we would be betraying our own values and we would risk losing the trust of our populations. And this trust - let us never forget - is absolutely essential to deprive terrorism of its breeding ground in the long term.

Thank you for organising this important debate, Mr President, dear friend, and thank you for your attention.