Plan of Action to Preventing Violent Extremism

Intervention by Mr. Paul Menkveld, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the UN, New York, 12 February 2016

Thank you Mr President.

The Netherlands aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

The Netherlands supports the Secretary-Generals Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism [and the GA Resolution]. As was stated by the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr Koenders, during his briefing to the UN Group of Friends on Counterterrorism last January: “Terrorism today is a multi-headed monster. Terrorists are ruthless, resourceful and skilled at reinvention.”. The Plan of Action that we discuss today will enable the international community to be equally ruthless, resourceful and skilled in preventing this phenomenon.

The Netherlands deems international cooperation in order to prevent violent extremism key. Together, countries must look beyond national borders and stay ahead of the curve. Through its international efforts, the Netherlands reaches out to allies and partners in order to build capacities and share best practices. The Netherlands promotes further international cooperation as co-chair, together with Turkey, of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, GCTF. This Forum is an important multilateral platform that works closely with the respective UN agencies. With a working group focusing on the prevention of violent extremism, and through the related Hedayah Centre in Abu Dhabi, the GCTF is uniquely positioned to mobilize expertise on extremism, to work on international coherence and to provide best practices and tools to implement the Plan of Action. The same goes for other initiatives, like the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund.

Not only internationally, but also nationally, the Netherlands focusses on identifying and tackling the root causes of radicalization. In the framework of our national comprehensive action program to prevent violent extremism, we have, at the local level, intensive and long-lasting contact with community and religious leaders, police officers, teachers and social workers who are working on a daily basis with youngster who may radicalize.

Although this strategy has proven to be useful, the number of Dutch Foreign Terrorist Fighters travelling abroad is still rising every month. And this is worrisome. It is therefore important that we continue to combine our national efforts to prevent violent extremism with international cooperation. The crucial factor is mutual trust. Do we trust each other enough? Do we share enough information? And are we truly willing to work together even more closely in preventing violent extremism?

In conclusion Mr President,
Prevention is better than taking action after the event. Stopping today’s radicals from becoming tomorrow’s terrorists can only succeed by taking action both nationally and internationally. The Netherlands is looking forward to seeing the Plan of Action implemented by the UN and its member states, and to engaging in further discussions to do so in the context of the upcoming Geneva conference in April and the 10th anniversary Review of the UN Global CT Strategy in June.

Mr. president,

Earlier I asked are we truly willing to work together?  The Kingdom of the Netherlands stands ready to intensify working with the UN and other member states to prevent the multi-headed monster called terrorism from striking.

Thank you.