The Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism was launched today at the United Nations Headquarter as an initiative led by the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan and Spain. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, Mr. Masood Karimipour of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, along various Member States were present as part of the launch.
The purpose of this Group of Friends is to promote the protection of the human rights of victims of terrorism and to advocate and raise awareness for their diverse needs, particularly in the case of women and children. The Group will also seek a balanced implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy with a focus on Pillar I on “measures to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism” and Pillar IV on “measures to ensure the protection of human rights and the rule of law while combating terrorism,” as well as other relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. The Group of Friends will also aim to give voice to victims at the international stage and promote their roles and that of their families in countering and de-legitimizing terrorist narratives including through education.
During their statements at the launch, Ambassador Adela Raz recalled the experience of Afghanistan, which as a nation at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, understands all too well the pain and suffering of those whose lives have been destroyed in the hands of terrorists violence. Secretary-General Guterres stressed the need to mitigate this pain and highlighted the need to strengthen the voice of victims and to put them at heart of counter-terrorism efforts, including through a new regulatory landscape engaging civil society. Under-Secretary-General Voronkov and Mr. Karimipour similarly stressed the importance of a victim-centered approach and highlighted the important milestone of the Group of Friends as a mechanism to countering terrorism and violent extremism. Ambassador Agustín Santos of Spain further stressed the global dimension of this threat and thanked all participant Member States for supporting this initiative.
Following these statements, over 20 Permanent Representatives and Senior Diplomats of Members and Observers of the Group of Friends took the floor and expressed their support, and thanked Afghanistan and Spain for their leadership in the process. This is the second initiative led by Afghanistan on the topic of Victims of Terrorism, having previously tabled resolution 72/165 on the “International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism” which was adopted by consensus and co-sponsored by 95 countries during the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly. A resolution on the matter is expected to be tabled to the consideration of the General Assembly on Friday the 28th, further adding to the work of Afghanistan on this matter.