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Minister Lajčák in New York: Extremism has to be combatted through prevention and education

Minister Lajčák in New York: Extremism has to be combatted through prevention and education

24.9.2016 | Aktivity ministra | Slovensko a OSN

New York (23 September) – “Violent extremism and xenophobia are in direct conflict with all United Nations principles and present a threat not only to society and individual states but also to the entire international community,” stated Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, at the ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations in New York on Friday.


The meeting was held on the sideline of the UN General Assembly and was dedicated to the growing xenophobia and intolerance in several regions of the world as a result of ethnic, religious and political conflicts.


Minister Lajčák focused on the issue of prevention of radicalization of young people in his remarks. “The trend of a growing radicalization of young people is alarming. The outcomes are tragedies of an unprecedented magnitude. People are not born as extremists, they become ones. For that reason we have to thoroughly consider why this is happening,” emphasized Minister Lajčák. He reminded that extremism is nurtured, inter alia, by global propaganda that reaches young people via modern technologies and social media.


“Changing social and family structures, missing feelings of security and justice, poor social integration, shortage of opportunities, and absence of prospects for a better future – these all present a breeding ground for extremism,” noted Minister Lajčák, who then outlined where he sees opportunities to counter the phenomenon of radicalization of young people.


“We need tighter cooperation in the areas of education, science and culture, in the area of communication, cooperation within civil society and the corporate sector alike. We have to teach young people how to resist extremist propaganda and reject it.  The most effective instrument is prevention through education. Young people have to be taught not just reading and writing but they also need to develop awareness of values, understanding for different cultures, and respecting diversity,” stated Minister Lajčák at the ministerial meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations.


In the course of Friday, Minister Lajčák also attended the ministerial meeting on implementation of the peace agreement in Mali that was opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


In his remarks Minister Lajčák declared Slovakia’s ongoing preparedness to contribute to the joint effort in implementation of the agreement envisioned to foster reconciliation and stabilization in Mali. He reminded that Slovakia had sent its experts for training of the Mali army under the EU training mission.


He highlighted that the international peacemaking activities in Mali also must reckon with security sector reform, an agenda pursued by Slovakia within UN activities. The reform of security corps and rule-of-law institutions play an important role in post-conflict situations and present a prerequisite sine qua non for ending the cycle of instability and uncertainty.


During his stay in New York, Minister Lajčák also attended the traditional Transatlantic Dinner to which the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, invites his EU and NATO departmental counterparts when the UN General Assembly takes place.


The dinner is an informal closed-door meeting of ministers to discuss timely issues related to mutual relations and topics important to countries on both sides of the Atlantic.


On behalf of Slovakia, Minister Lajčák reiterated the importance that the country attributes to solid transatlantic ties and cooperation in addressing all global challenges that have security implications for all partners. “There may be a feeling on both sides of the Atlantic that we are overwhelmed and overloaded with various crises, including the migration crisis, economic difficulties and growing populism and extremism, yet we must not forget how much more difficult managing them would be without this unique European-US partnership,” noted Minister Lajčák.


Besides attending multilateral activities on Friday Minister Lajčák held several bilateral meetings, including with the President of the 71st UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrillo; Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, Hoyt Yee; Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at U.S. Department of State, Dan Fried; Foreign Affairs Minister of Malaysia, Dato Anifah Aman; Foreign Affairs Minister of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez Gómez; and Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, together with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj.