Efforts are underway to curb the terrorists’ use and abuse of the internet and social media platforms, Sri Lanka told the 74th UN General Assembly while commenting on terrorism and protecting human rights.
In a statement to the General Assembly in New York, US on Monday, Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha said evolving legislative measures and law enforcement mechanisms to counter radical ideologies leading to violent extremism was one such measure.
“In this context, it is necessary to develop the critical thinking capacity of youth, strengthen community bonds, inculcate a sense of civic duty, and build community resilience to mitigate the effects and influences of extremist ideologies conducive to terrorism that may escape the eye of law enforcement authorities. In this regard, the role of the community and its resilience against local drivers of extremism is essential in preventing violent extremism. The recovery over the past five months demanded that we be resolute in governance. If we are to truly overcome these challenges, we must move to incorporate a ‘Whole of Society’ approach to that with a ‘Whole of Government’ approach,” Mr Aryasinha said.
He said the events of the Easter Sunday bombing taught Sri Lanka that ‘fighting terrorism’ must go hand in hand with ‘protecting human rights’: one cannot be compromised for the other.
“This very delicate balance has often been elusive – with states veering towards one extreme or the other, applying double standards to similar situations and often politicizing these issues. We as a nation have found ourselves up to the task of overcoming the challenges posed by the violent extremism on Easter Sunday. The citizenry was secured within a relatively short period of time, and law and order restored; our institutions asserted themselves, each in their role to ensure that people, communities and society as a whole, were able to feel safe again,” he said.
He said a Ministerial Committee headed by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, has been established by Cabinet to study and propose amendments to the draft counter-terrorism legislation currently under consideration by the Parliament.
“Conscious of our international obligations, Sri Lanka is also consulting with partners in striving to bring about domestic enabling legislation that would make us compliant with more recent Security Council resolutions on combatting terrorism – relating to terrorist financing, border security, returning terrorist fighters and countering violent extremism,” he said.
The recovery over the past five months demanded that we be resolute in governance