Liberia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dee Maxwell Kemayah, has pointed out exclusion from socio-economic, religious and political system, unemployment and the lack of opportunities for growth; injustice, corruption and oppression of certain groups; and fragile state capacity and failing security as some of the factors that are motivating and driving acts of terrorism.
While Ambassador Kemayah upholds this view as personal and not justification for acts of terror against humanity, he believes adequately addressing those issues raised would mitigate terrorism and extremism; acts he says are “Advancing daily and creating safety concerns globally.”
He recalled that in 2018 alone, terrorist attacks claimed the lives of approximately 27,000 individuals and noted that fears as a result o terrorism have “Quadrupled,” with half of the world’s population expressing concern about being victimized by terrorism.
Acts terrorism and extremism are taking root within the West African region with bases in Mali and Nigeria. The Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria has advanced that its activities are highly felt in other countries including Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. The al-Qaida sponsored terrorist group in northern Mali is terrifying surrounding countries like Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast, with Burkina Faso, hit many in recent years.
At a seminar on the Political Trends and Implications for Peace and Security in Africa and the Changing Face of Terrorism and Extremism: Practical Response in Mombasa, Kenya, Ambassador Kemayah also stressed the need to strengthen democracies, and enhance regional and international cooperation as practical steps to addressing the growing threats of terrorism and extremism.
Kenya is always hit by the terrorist group, Al-Shaba which is based in Somalia.
“The consideration and/or implementation of the following could be a number of ways to address the growing threats of terrorism and extremism: We must ensure the continuous strengthening of our democracies; vigilance should be stepped up so as to reduce the number and risks from terror acts; the formulation of legal framework for enhanced international cooperation that would limit or prevent the financing of terrorism; including, but not limited to curbing money laundering, should be relentlessly pursued; we should intensify regional cooperation; aimed at addressing cross-border crimes; especially illegal trafficking flows; elevating the relevant role women can play in trying to mitigate acts of terrorism and extremism; hence enhancing gender equality and empowering women would be key; terrorist groups exploit idle youth; therefore youth engagement and empowerment will surely mitigate the recruitment of youth by terrorist groups; the use of sports as a unifying tool should be enhanced; and finally, we should increase effectiveness of our collaboration and exchange of information in the fight against terrorism,” said Ambassador Kemayah.
According to Ambassador Kemayah, practical democracy where there is respect for human rights and the rule of law would remedy the issue of global terrorism and extremism.
Ambassador Kemayah emphasized that upholding human dignity, respecting the values and culture of people, as well as embracing diversity and fostering inclusion is critical for the existence of social peace and addressing the factors that prompt and drive terrorism and extremism.
Bringing under consideration the scenario of Liberia, Ambassador Kemayah said Liberia has witnessed participatory democracy where successive elections had been held and power turned over peacefully with the consensus of all Liberian voters. Beyond that, he emphasized that Liberia has in recent years become a country where people exercise their constitutional rights by hosting peaceful street protests with the government exercising tolerance and controlling the situation without infringement on the rights of protesters.
It may be recalled that beginning September 2018 to January 2020 Liberians have held mass peaceful protests; though January 6, 2020, was ended up violently because of unorthodox force used by the Liberia National Police to disperse the crowd in the evening hours of the protest.
Ambassador Kemayah on behalf of President George Weah reaffirmed Liberia’s “Unwavering commitment and support” towards the fight of the United Nations and International Community against Global Terrorism and Extremism aimed at the sustenance of global peace and security.
The Seminar at which Ambassador Kemayah spoke was organized by Kenya on the Political Trends and Implications for Peace and Security in Africa; and the Changing Face of Terrorism and Extremism: Practical Responses, stressing that it gave the subject of terrorism the relevance that it deserves. The seminar brought together several stakeholders in the peace and security sectors, including some United Nations Security Council members and other Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives to the United Nations.