UNESCO attends the AUPSC open session on humanitarian response for the victims affected by terrorist activities in Africa

UNESCO Liaison Office represented by Ms. Malebogo Bowe and UNESCO-IICBA, represented by Ms. Marcela Krejci, participated in a half-day open session on humanitarian response for the victims affected by terrorist activities in Africa, organized by the African Union Peace and Security Council on the 8th of August 2017 in African Union.

The meeting kicked off with the presentation of the Commissioner of Political Affairs of African Union, Mrs. Minata Samate Cessouma who stressed the importance of fighting terrorism and protecting civilians especially vulnerable groups such as women, children and elderly.  

Thereafter the Delegate of United Nations Office to the African Union Mr. Azat Lachinyan, OiC UNOCHA Liaison Office to AU Humanitarian Affairs/Civil-Military Coordination Officer presented the common statement of UNESCO and other UN agencies. He mentioned that “the activities of the various terrorist groups across Africa - from the Sahel to Somalia - are a major part of conflict and insecurity and key drivers of humanitarian need on the continent…. The spread of terrorism and violent extremism are threats to global peace, stability and development, and make protracted conflicts even more difficult to resolve. Victims of terrorism, individuals and communities, are traumatized and are in need of additional support. Women and children are targeted and abducted. They are witness to, though in some cases are also perpetrators of, terrorist attacks.” He pointed out some strategies and actions in response to terrorist activities by the UN. For example the United Nations Counter Terrorism Centre and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Inter-Agency Working Group on Victims of Terrorism.  He also highlighted the importance of education as a tool for peace-building and a prevention against violent extremism and that UNESCO is the key UN agency in education field and recognized its contribution to the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. Examples include the one-year UNCCT-UNESCO project, which promoted peace education via conflict management, citizenship, democracy and good governance as the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region and Burkina Faso, using the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Reference Manual. Moreover, he emphasized that UNESCO developed a Teacher’s Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism. This Guide provides policy-makers with outlines measures that can be applied within education systems to address challenges posed by violent extremism through the development of inclusive education policies and non-discriminatory educational contents, the promotion of safe learning environments, the development of confident and well-trained teachers, and the establishment of empowering partnerships.

Finally, he closed his speech underlining that “The United Nations wishes to reiterate that it is not enough to counter violent extremism; we need to prevent it, including through investing in education, preventing the process of radicalization, and empowering young people

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