New York: On Thursday, April 24th, the UAE Permanent Representative to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, participated in an open debate at the United Nations Security Council about the “Role of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace”.
In her statement to the council, which was chaired by H.H, Crown Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the ambassador thanked his highness for convening this important debate, the Secretary General of the United Nations and other speakers for their views on this critical topic.
The ambassador emphasized that “the United Arab Emirates fully shares the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s view that “youth should not only be seen as victims but also as agents in building and delivering a positive agenda that counters extremism and violence and offers hope in the wake of the destructive war waged by the forces of intolerance and hatred.”
Speaking on the socio-economic reasons that make youth vulnerable to recruitment and radicalization, the ambassador cited “the bulge in youth globally and the stress it places on basic services such as education; growing unemployment; perceptions of injustice; individual alienation or community grievances.”
She highlighted that the conflicts in the Middle East, namely “Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and the long-lasting Israeli occupation have led to more violence and fractured the global security order”. She pointed out that “these crises left political vacuums which have exacerbated extremism, leading to spillover effects that have destabilized the entire region.”
She emphasized the UAE’s perspective on Da’esh, saying it has exploited all of the factors described today to draw young people towards them and wage war against innocent civilians. She stressed that such acts represent a clear violation of Islamic teachings.
She elaborated that “sustaining Da’esh and other extremist and terrorist organizations are considerable financial, communications and travel support networks that span the world.” “Those recruited as foreign fighters in Syria by Da’esh come from more than 90 countries,” she added.
Speaking on the efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism, the ambassador highlighted that the UAE has translated its vision into a comprehensive strategy that rests on supporting the right to education and critical thinking particularly to girls, building a knowledge economy that prepares young people for the modern job market and encourage youth to take greater responsibilities and leadership in building the society and country.
She further explained that the UAE strategy also denies the use of social media as a incitement and recruitment tool, citing the country’s partnership with the US to launch the Anti-DAESH Online Operations Centre to counter the exploitation of online media and propose credible religious counter-narratives.
She added that the UAE seeks to promote values of tolerance and moderation by partnering with respected religious leaders and institutions. She explained that the UAE has invested $20 million to provide training to Imams in Afghanistan’s rural areas on the moderate teachings of Islam, in addition to supporting the establishment of the Muslim Council of Elders in Abu Dhabi to promote peaceful values.
She outlined that the UAE offers high quality healthcare and education services for Syrian and Iraqi refugees and provides full support to Egypt through youth focused programmes. “With 30% of the youth population of the Middle East and North Africa today, we strongly believe that Egypt’s stability is the cornerstone of the region’s stability,” she said.
The ambassador proposed some recommendations to help counter extremism in the long-term, urging “the international community to take swift and collective action, through the Security Council. She further stressed the need to “utilize the existing and emerging legal frameworks to counter extremist recruitment and financing channels and to implement UN Security Council relevant resolutions.” She also stated that strengthening the role of women and mothers in society is the first line of defence in countering extremism.
She closed her remarks by reiterating the need to prioritize the empowerment of youth globally and addressing their diverse economic, political and social concerns. “Let us unite in support of 1.8 billion young people globally to develop a better future for them,” she concluded.