Terror attacks kill 25,000 in 2016 — UN report
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - November 19, 2017 - 4:00pm

 MANILA, Philippines — Over 25,000 people died and 33,000 injured in at least 11,000 terrorist attacks in more than 100 countries last year, according to the United Nations.

Terrorists are losing physical ground in Syria and Iraq, but gaining virtual ground in cyberspace such as Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube, the UN said.

“Terrorism is fundamentally the denial and destruction of human rights,” UN Secretary General António Guterres said.

“Terrorism has been unfortunately with us in various forms across ages and continents,” Guterres declared. “But modern terrorism is being waged on an entirely different scale, and notably its geographic span. No country can claim to be immune.”

In 2016, nearly three-quarters of all deaths caused by terrorism were in five states – Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Somalia.

The global economic impact of terrorism is estimated to have reached $90 billion in 2015. That year, terrorism costs amounted to 17.3 percent of gross domestic product in Iraq and 16.8 percent in Afghanistan.

Recalling how the Magna Carta established the principle of the rule of law 800 years ago, Guterres said human rights are a true recognition of common humanity.

“When we protect human rights, we are tackling the root causes of terrorism. For the power of human rights to bond is stronger than the power of terrorism to divide,” he said.

He stressed the need for stronger international cooperation, announcing that he intends to convene the first-ever UN summit of heads of counterterrorism agencies next year to forge new partnerships and build relationships of trust.

Guterres said focus on prevention, which includes addressing the factors that radicalize young people and make terrorism a fateful option for them, should be another important priority.

He said the UN has launched an anti-terror partnership, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, to thwart the spread of extremist content online.

Facing threats of an unprecedented nature, states are scrambling to enhance efficiency of their counterterrorist legislation. Without a firm basis in human rights, counterterrorism policies can be misused and abused to suppress peaceful protests and legitimate opposition movements.

“The battle of ideas must be won. We should never shrink from pointing out the cynicism and errors of terrorism. At the heart of darkness, we should build a new age of enlightenment,” Guterres said.

“When terrorists portray violence as the best way of addressing inequality or grievances, we must answer with non-violence and inclusive decision-making,” he added.

Guterres said the UN would also prioritize to lift up the voices of the victims of terrorism.

He said victims and survivors of terrorist attacks must consistently call for accountability and results.

He urged young people to become clear-thinking and enlightened citizens.

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