Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Workshop on Promoting the Adoption and Implementation of National Strategies to Counter Violent Extremism for Afghanistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka

        Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and distinguished guests. The Japanese Mission is pleased to hold this important workshop in cooperation with CTED to promote the adoption and implementation of national strategies to counter violent extremism. I also welcome the participation of representatives of various sectors to the discussions. The importance of gender equality, as promoted in the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women that is taking place here in New York, also applies to countering violent extremism. Women's participation and leadership in this process is vital.

          Threats of terrorism and violent extremism remain a global challenge. The decrease of ISIL’s territories in Iraq and Syria has led foreign terrorist fighters to return to their home countries or to travel to third countries. Terrorist propaganda through the use of the Internet has also become an increasingly serious concern.  

          Zeroing in on a specific region, South Asia has been vulnerable to the threats of terrorism and violent extremism for a long time. In Afghanistan, the Taliban and ISIL affiliates have conducted numerous terrorist acts. From the Maldives, many have traveled to Syria and Iraq to become foreign terrorist fighters. They are now traveling and returning as foreign terrorist fighters to the Maldives and surrounding countries, becoming a source of concern. Foreign terrorist fighters from Sri Lanka have also traveled to Syria to join ISIL, and conflicts among different religions in Sri Lanka have intensified. Supporting the counter terrorism and violent extremism measures in South Asia is extremely important for Japan as well as the international community.

          In order to counter the threats of terrorism and violent extremism, we must enhance border control and strengthen the capacity of law enforcement organizations. At the same time, we must address violent extremism as the root cause of terrorism, as they are inherently interlinked.

          Threats of violent extremism, however, take different forms in each country. In order to effectively respond to each of them, each country must adopt and implement national strategies to counter violent extremism.  It is important that all relevant stakeholders, including governments, law enforcement, civil society, women, and youth, closely cooperate with communities which are under threats of violent extremism, and adopt a whole of society approach to create synergy in the coordination. For example, in 2004 Japan adopted the Action Plan for Prevention of Terrorism as our national action plan to ensure the safety of society through law enforcement, local policing activities, protection of women and children, and supporting the return of prisoners to society. The plan also supports establishing resilient communities abroad through activities such as job training, school building, and smooth reintegration of soldiers to society.

          Adoption and implementation of national strategies to counter violent extremism in Afghanistan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka could play a crucial role in addressing the emerging threats and vulnerability in South Asia and in creating a basis of regional initiative to counter violent extremism.
Japan strongly supports the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism presented by the Secretary-General, and we have been calling for G7 countries to embrace exchanging knowledge and best practices with other UN Member States as well as provide support for the swift implementation of the Plan.

          Japan, through international organizations, has actively supported the establishment of resilient communities against violent extremism. CTED, in particular, has been one of Japan’s most important partners in this regard, and we will continue working closely with them. We hope that the knowledge and lessons you learn from this workshop will contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability of South Asia.

Thank you.