"Smart" counter-terrorism policies needed, based on human rights: UN chief

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Aftermath of an explosion in the centre of Kabul, Afghanistan, on the corner of Passport Lane and the Indian Embassy. Photo: UNAMA/Jawad Jalali (file)

In order to defeat the rise of violent extremism, the world needs "strong and smart" policies founded on human rights, the UN Secretary-General said on Tuesday.

António Guterres made the remarks at a high-level dialogue in Turkmenistan's capital city, Ashgabat, aimed at implementing a UN Global Counter-Terrorism strategy in Central Asia.

The strategy, reviewed every two years by UN Member States, seeks to enhance efforts to prevent and fight terrorism and build States' capacity to do so.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

Attempts to prevent or curtail violent extremism must not be allowed to backfire, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned delegates at the high-level meeting on combatting terrorism in Central Asia. 

Ashgabat in Turkmenistan is the last leg of his tour of the region that began on 8 June in Kyrgyzstan. 

While Central Asia has been spared major terrorist attacks, the wider neighbourhood has been deeply affected by "prolonged and unresolved conflicts" Mr Guterres said. 

"This has heightened the acute and growing regional threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism. In addition, extremist organizations are actively seeking to recruit citizens of Central Asia. The presence of such fighters in the ranks of terrorist and extremist movements, including in Afghanistan and the Middle East, poses a threat not only internationally, but also in these fighters' homelands." 

An "active, inclusive, vibrant and free civil society" is also essential to countering terrorism, the UN chief stressed. 

Back in 2011, the five countries António Guterres visited this week adopted the Ashgabat Declaration and the Joint Plan of Action for the Implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations. 

Duration: 1’16″

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