TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations called for serious and collective measures to counter extremist ideologies and prevent radical groups from recruiting young forces.
Addressing a United Nations General Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Gholam Hossein Dehqani stressed the need for joint efforts by the international community to stop the spread of extremism by tackling its root causes and focusing on cultural programs.
The following is the full text of his speech, according to the Foreign Ministry’s official website:
In the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful;
Let me begin by thanking you for convening this meeting on this very critical issue.
We live in a world bestowed with the largest youth population ever in the human history. While it is an asset for building a more prosperous future, it also presents us with a major challenge of helping them empower, and encouraging them to effectively participate in decision-making processes in all areas. That would enable them at the same time to help building and sustaining peace, including through resisting and denouncing extreme ideologies.
In the past few years, the extreme ideologies and terrorist groups have been the greatest threats to peace and security, with the youth being their prime victims and targets of recruitment. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, apartheid policies, occupation, armed conflict situations, marginalization and exclusion are the main factors that increase the youth vulnerability and make them an easy target for radicalization and recruitment.
Recent pervasive xenophobic attitude bordering on racism in some countries is another major challenge that increases the youth alienation everywhere in our world that is inter-connected through such different means as migration and new communication technologies. Such tendencies provide breeding grounds for resentment, dispute and conflict.
To prevent the youth marginalization and radicalization, we have no choice other than trying to encourage tolerance, invest on education and awareness raising, alleviate poverty, end discrimination, liberate the lands under occupation, especially the Palestinian land, and address effectively conflict situations.
Moreover, enhanced civic education as well as dialogue within and among communities and nations have an important role to play in raising our younger generations awareness of the threat to peace and security and help foster an atmosphere of tolerance and civility.
These actions are not, however, to be taken from the top. Both at the national and international levels, the youth need to be involved and encouraged to meaningfully participate in every relevant activity.
Safeguarding the youth against the threats of radicalization through the abuse of modern technologies is also imperative. Online media platforms should be induced to act responsibly. They should not be a conduit for spreading extremist views and a means for recruiting among their mostly young audience. Relevant companies should be responsible and step up their control on the content exchanged through their platforms. Should they shirk their responsibility, governments have to intervene and act promptly to stop extremist online activities.
The strategy I referred to would help empower the next generation to lead the efforts against violent and extremist views and avoid falling prey to those who seek only to aggravate those troubles and cause further devastation and chaos.
In the context of Iran’s unquestionable commitment to combating violent extremism, I am proud to recall that the Iranian youths have been the most immune to the propaganda and recruitment activities of terrorist and extremist groups.
Let me close, Mr. President, by recalling the importance of the resolutions adopted by the 70th and 72nd General Assemblies on a World Against Violence and Violent Extremism, based on the initiative of the Iranian President, which address inter alia the imperative of empowering young people to combat violent extremism.