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Statement by Minna-Liina Lind, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia at the Group of Friends Meeting of the UN Alliance of Civilization on “Preventing Violent Extremism and Sustaining Peace”, 3 April 2018


Many thanks for convening today´s meeting on this highly relevant topic.

Recent decades have shown that the threats to peace and security are changing and also multiplying. While the conventional threats are there to stay, we also talk about cyber threats, hybrid threats, terrorism and radicalization.  

In opening the General Assembly past September, the vast majority of the heads of states and governments expressed their concern about the growing trend of radicalization and spread of violent extremism that leads to terrorism. The phenomenon is also rapidly changing, highly adaptable and unpredictable.

Furthermore, the root causes of radicalization that trigger violence are not changing. Social exclusion, inequality, lack of education, disrespect to human rights and fundamental freedoms are some of the main elements that could lead not only to radicalization and violent extremism, but also to wider armed conflicts.

The commitment to prevention is the key. We fully support all the efforts in strengthening UN´s work on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Our Prime Minister will also attend the high-level meeting on sustaining peace later this month.  We are also looking forward to the upcoming review of the Global Counterterrorism Strategy, where we expect a stronger focus on prevention.

We agree that the governments are responsible for preventing violent extremism but they cannot do it alone. Only in close collaboration and coordination with all the stakeholders in the society – especially the youth, women, civil society organizations representing the views of various social layers – these challenges can be tackled. We also need to talk to vulnerable groups and involve them in the discussions.

The Internet is definitely a globalization enabler and important tool for creation of all-inclusive societies. Unfortunately, it is also often used to spread hatred and violent ideologies. While the governments and private sector must work hand in hand to tackle the terrorist use of it, they also need to strongly support the voices of youth and civil society narrating their stories to prevent the spread of violence.

Estonia is convinced that limiting media and online freedom will fire back in long term. We therefore concentrate on raising awareness of the threats, especially among young people, developing their media and information literacy and critical thinking. Reaching out to the youth and sharing best practices could be definitely this Forum`s advantage.

Thank you!


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