UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Addresses Issues Raised By Asian African Leaders


APRIL 24, 2015

AACC2015, Jakarta - As a number of Asian African leaders in Jakarta called for joint war against terrorism, at the same time in New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed that the world must unite to fight against extremism.

Although terrorists and extremists claim to be guided by their religion, their ideologies are contrary to the teachings of any faith. "Religion does not cause violence; people do," Ban said on Wednesday (23/4, local time).

This came after the General Assembly debate with respect to increasing tolerance and practical strategies to counteract extremism. "Religious leaders can play a key strategic role in addressing sectarian division and counteracting radical force," he said, as quoted by Antara from China’s Xinhua News Agency on Thursday (23/4).

Ban urged all religious leaders to use their spiritual and moral influence to counteract extreme ideologies through the promotion of mutual understanding. Ban also said that at the end of this year, the UN would propose a comprehensive action plan in order to nip extreme violence in the bud.

Meanwhile, at the first Plenary Session of the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Asian African Conference (AAC) at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani went on to say that respect for all religions, ethnicities and races served as the foundation for combating terrorism.

Religious leaders must perform concrete action to eradicate terrorism. "When it comes to terrorism prevention, there is no difference between Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, nor Africans, Asians and Europeans. Religion should not be used as a political instrument, let alone Islam which carries a message of peace to the world,” Hassan said.

He expressed the importance of identifying immediately the causes of many youths joining terrorist groups. "The cultural and economic issues that have led to radical ideologies must be identified," he said.

A similar issue was also raised by King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan that expressed the need for hard work amongst Asian African nations to jointly develop a strategy for prosperity.

King Abdullah reiterated that today a number of countries, such as Syria, Iraq and Nigeria, are facing security issues, so it is necessary to strengthen the South-South cooperation to resolve these problems.

Also in the plenary session, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his hope for information exchange with the Indonesian government in the fight against terrorism and radical groups. "Let us fight against the radical and terrorist groups through the sharing of information," he said.

According to the Prime Minister, building cooperation in security between the two continents must be implemented immediately. Peace created through such cooperation will make Asian African countries not hesitate to invest and build better bilateral relations. "We will reap many benefits through cooperation, but we should prioritise security," he urged.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed of Bangladesh also echoed the same sentiment, stressing that terrorists and radical groups belong to no religion or race. As such, they must be eradicated from the face of the earth. "South-South Cooperation can combat the prevailing terrorism and radical groups," she said. (Translator: Muhardi)