UN chief highlights role of good governance in fighting terrorism

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses students after receiving a Medal of Honour from the Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

Good governance is essential to combat terrorism, the UN Secretary-General said on Wednesday.

Ban Ki-moon was speaking at a conference in Madrid on preventing and countering violent extremism.

A March 2004 terrorist attack in the Spanish capital killed 191 people and wounded 1,800 more.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Ban said extremist groups, such as ISIL or Da'esh in the Middle East and Al Shabaab and Boko Haram in Africa, undermine universal values of dignity and human worth.

Many people recruited into such groups become radicalized due to violence and injustice around them.

He said by working to end poverty, inequality, exclusion and lack of opportunity, they can be shown "a better way."

"Extremist groups often paint themselves as an alternative to poor governance and corruption: in the justice sector, in the security sector, and across all state institutions. We must strengthen these areas, as a preventative measure, to stop the spoilers of peace from holding sway over underserved and neglected populations. I am convinced that good governance is essential to countering terrorism in the long-term." 

The Secretary-General also outlined a plan of action to address the factors behind violent extremism. 

It calls for engaging young people, the main targets for recruitment by extremist groups. It also recognizes the importance of civil society groups, women and religious leaders in finding solutions.

Mr Ban will present the plan to the UN General Assembly in the coming months.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28″

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