UN meeting upholds need to remember and support victims of terrorism — Global Issues

The first UN World Congress of Victims of Terrorism will address key issues including protection, memory and recognition, and access to justice, as well as support and help.

More than 600 participants are expected to attend, both in person and online, including survivors, diplomats, experts and representatives from civil society, academia and the private sector. core.

Master the story

Boris Voronkov, head of the United Nations Office on Counter-Terrorism, said terrorism can affect everyone (UNOCT), the opening speaker.

“The Global Congress is our chance to remove the narrative from terrorists and violent extremists and give it back to the victims and survivors,” he said.

Mr. Voronkov outlined a three-pronged approach to scaling support for victims, starting with putting them first and taking care of their interests.

He also stressed the need to ensure that victims receive comprehensive support, one of the messages that emerged from a conference held earlier this year in Málaga, Spain, aimed at examining human rights, civil society and counter-terrorism.

‘Overcoming the challenge’

“Going forward, we need to ensure that Member States are able to meet the physical, medical and psychosocial needs of victims, and that their human rights are recognized. and protect. We need to recognize our obligation in this regard and rise to the challenge,” he said.

States should also strengthen commitments at the national level, including through the establishment and promotion of legislative frameworks to protect and promote the rights of victims.

There is also a need for greater commitment at the international level, he added.

“Recently celebrated Thursday International Day of Remembrance and Remembrance for the Victims of Terrorism, our determination must continue to be translated into concrete action. Gatherings like this one, continue to push us to do more.”

Solidarity and support

In her keynote speech, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed emphasized the need to stand with victims and survivors.

“Uniting and supporting the victims of terrorism is a moral obligation and a humanitarian imperative and human rights,” she speaks.

“But let’s be clear: Congress today does more than benefit the victims. It is an essential part of our efforts to prevent and end terrorism everywhere. “

The President of the 76th UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, also spoke at the meeting.

“Our duty, not only as a member of an international organization, but also as a fellow human being, stands in solidarity with the victims of terrorism. We will have to raise awareness of their needsand make every effort to ensure the protection, promotion and respect of their rights,” he said.

Victim’s call to action

During the opening ceremony, 10 people from around the world talked about how their lives were ruined by terrorism.

Ana Evans from Argentina lost her husband in a terrorist attack in New York City on October 1, 2017.

UN photo / Loey Felipe

Ana Evans from Argentina lost her husband in a terrorist attack in New York City on October 1, 2017.

In sharing their traumatic stories, these victims and survivors issued a call to action, expressing what they hope the Games will achieve.

For Ana Evans, a mother of three from Argentina, life “frozen” on October 1, 2017, the day her husband and several of his friends were killed while on vacation in New York City. .

A ‘very difficult decision’

The men were riding bicycles along a popular riverside road when a terrorist drove a truck at them.

“I have made the very difficult decision to go to New York, where my husband was killed, to be a part of this Congress and ask you, the international community, to do something on behalf of my children. , and on behalf of all children and families affected by terrorism,‘ she said, speaking through an interpreter.

Ms. Evans called for access to justice, compensation and space to remember those who lost their lives.

Ashraf Al-Khaled of Jordan lost his father, parents-in-law and 24 other relatives in a hotel bombing in the capital Amman in November 2005.

UN photo / Loey Felipe

Ashraf Al-Khaled of Jordan lost his father, parents-in-law and 24 other relatives in a hotel bombing in the capital Amman in November 2005.

The day ‘everything changed’

Ashraf Al-Khaled from Jordan got married on November 9, 2005, which is said to be the happiest day of his life.

However, “everything changed” that evening when three hotels in the capital Amman were bombed, including the hotel where his wedding reception was held. The explosion claimed the lives of his father, his parents-in-law and 24 other relatives.

Al-Khaled said he was at the United Nations in 2008 to attend a symposium on assisting victims of terrorism. Although some progress has occurred since then, he stressed the need to do more.

“Our needs and rights are different, and they must be upheld in different ways. We need financial support, medical care, or even psychological support,” he said.

“We stand before you, united as victims of terrorism from different countries, backgrounds and cultures. However, we are united in our pain, and we are united in humanity as brothers and sisters on this planet. Please join our movement so we can make sure our children don’t have to face what we have faced in the past.”

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