Home Secretary opens United Nations’ first global congress on victims of terrorism
“Remembrance is justice and it is also proof that this world does not tolerate that the injustice of forgetfulness is the price of peace and freedom.” With these words, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska inaugurated this Thursday the United Nations’ first Global Congress on Victims of Terrorism, co-chaired by Spain and Iraq. “A world without memory is a world without a future because it has no direction,” he added.
Spain, Marlaska said, “is proof that democracy and the rule of law can defeat terrorism” and claimed the memory of the victims as an instrument for peace and harmony, and an antidote to radicalism.
“We must remember the victims, justify their sacrifice and their example,” said the minister. “They are the ethical and moral reference of our democratic values. They are the symbol of a world that defends peace and freedom in the face of terrorist abandonment.
The minister pointed out that the world community can count on Spain as its strongest ally in initiatives to restore and disseminate the memory of the victims.
Grande-Marlaska emphasized Spain’s efforts in the fight against terrorism, as well as the work in support of the victims, and expressed the wish of the Spanish government to organize the second World Congress in our country.
The minister explained Spain’s vision to create global solidarity platforms capable of providing comprehensive protection to victims with the development of multilateral projects.
A global network of victims’ associations, he pointed out, that includes recovery and psychological and economic assistance, and that emphasizes preserving their memory.
“We don’t want this to stay here,” Marlaska said. “Spain, which has suffered from both autonomous and international jihadist terrorism for many years and is an international benchmark for protecting victims of terrorism, may be the best venue for this second congress.”
The experience, institutional support, legislation and associative structure that Spain contributes to the global space for victims of terrorism could significantly benefit other countries with less experience and capabilities in this area, the minister stressed.
Grande-Marlaska announced an initial contribution of 400,000 euros as a commitment from Spain to the creation of an international solidarity fund to provide financial support to associations and victims around the world who lack resources.
The aim, according to the minister, is that all victims’ associations and the victims themselves can develop protection and assistance projects, regardless of the location or reason of the attack.
Over two days, multilateral perspectives and key aspects are analysed, such as measures to recognize and commemorate victims of terrorism, access to justice, protection of their rights, as well as their assistance and support for their rights and specific needs.
The forum, the first of its kind, hosted not only government representatives, but also victims of terrorism and their associations, international entities and civil society organisations, as well as academic experts and researchers. For the first time in the General Assembly, the first-hand testimonies of many of the victims of global terrorism were heard.
Well-known victims traveled to New York with Minister Marlaska, such as Tomás Caballero, chairman of the Victims of Terrorism Foundation; Florencio Domínguez, director of the Center for the Memory of Victims of Vitoria, and Maixabel Lasa, activist for coexistence and reconciliation in the Basque Country.
As co-chair of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism since 2019, Spain is one of the organizers of this first congress and has been leading the United Nations for years in promoting the creation of policies to combat terrorism.
A sustained effort that culminated last year in the seventh revision of the United Nations Global Strategy against Terrorism, the first of a comprehensive nature and approved by consensus in the General Assembly.
A major review covering issues of security, prevention, victim support, respect for human rights, and giving an important role to the inclusion of civil society and women.
Another result of this work was the opening of a regional headquarters of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office in Madrid, which is scheduled to be commissioned before the end of the year.
The minister also took part in the presentation to the United Nations of the Memorial Center for the Victims of Terrorism, which is headquartered in has in Victoria. -Gasteiz and opened its doors to the public in June 2021.
Source: La Verdad
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