Advancing the rights and needs of people whose lives have been upended by terrorism is the goal of a two-day meeting that opened at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Thursday. The first UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism will address key issues that include protection, remembrance and recognition, and access to justice, as well as support and assistance. More than 600 participants are expected to attend, both in-person and online, including survivors, diplomats, experts and representatives from civil society, academia, and the private sector.

Terrorism can affect everyone, said Vladimir Voronkov, head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), who delivered the opening remarks. Mr. Voronkov outlined a three-pronged approach to scale-up support to victims, starting with putting them first and being mindful of their interests. Countries should also strengthen commitments at the national level, including through establishing and boosting legislative frameworks that protect and promote the rights of victims.

In her keynote address, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed underlined the need to stand with victims and survivors. “Solidarity and support for victims of terrorism is a moral obligation and a humanitarian and human rights imperative,” she said. The President of the 76th UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, also delivered remarks to the gathering. “It is our duty, not only as members of an international organization, but as fellow human beings, to stand in solidarity with the victims of terrorism. We must raise awareness of their needs, and do our utmost to guarantee the protection, promotion and respect of their rights,” he said.

Source: The UN 


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