I thank all the organizers for hosting this timely meeting today. I also thank the briefers for their insightful presentation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously challenged our global counter-terrorism efforts. The threat landscape has grown manifold due to loss of income, growing poverty and inequality, rise of hate speech, increased exposure to online terrorism etc. In order to diminish the impact of pandemic on our counter terrorism efforts, we need enhanced international solidarity and global partnership.
Let me share a few specific thoughts in this regard:
First, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many facets of inequality both within and across societies. The vaccine divide is a new and evolving form of inequality, which aggravates the situation further. This may upset increase discontent among societies and fuel the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism. It is, therefore, imperative to ensure safe and affordable vaccines for everyone, everywhere.
Second, the so called “infodemics” has seen a surge during the pandemic. This has led to political unrests, hate crimes, and xenophobia in many places. We appreciate Secretary General’s effort to combat infodemics. The UN needs to further scale up its efforts to overturn the tide of hates and lies that grew in tandem with COVID-19 pandemic.
Third, the overexposure to online platforms, especially by youth and women, have led to a new risk environment in cyber domain. These platforms are being increasingly used by terrorists for the malicious purpose of spreading violent extremism. These emerging challenges require due understanding, recognition, and new dispensations at global level.
Fourth, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a resource crunch in many countries. As such, many long-term projects and programmes on countering terrorism and violent extremism have been put on hold. Resources are being diverted to tackle the emergency. The international community must, therefore, step up their efforts to mobilize more resources to continue the CT and CVE efforts. And that include national capacity building, awareness-raising, community engagement and resilience, in a way to engage ‘whole-of-society’.
Finally, the pandemic has put serious constraints to the issues of protection and welfare of the victims of terrorism. They need enhanced support to heal and break free from terrorist violence.
Bangladesh maintains a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism and violent extremism. We reiterate our support to global efforts to deter and defeat the rise of terrorism and violent extremism.
I thank you all.