NEW YORK, 29 SEPTEMBER 2015
Your Excellency, President Barack Obama,
I wish to begin by expressing my appreciation to you, Mr. President, for your initiative in convening this important meeting.
Violent extremism in all its forms, including terrorism, has indeed become major threats to international peace and security.
Radical ideologies, religions and violent political movements often take roots in countries where civil and political liberties are restricted and there is limited space for expressing peaceful dissents. Seeds of terrorism also find fertile ground when there are social injustice, marginalization, rampant poverty, long-term conflicts and a general sense of insecurity. Here a radical ideology often offers alternative means of protection and leadership. Through the misuse of the jihad concept, such an ideology often sells the dream of a better life in Heaven as the life on earth is so hopeless and bleak.
It is, however, important to bear in mind that ISIL, which has taken violent extremism to an entirely new level of barbarism, first grew out of Iraq that has remained fragile as the after effects of foreign interventions aimed at bringing democracy into the areas. The forcible removal of authoritarian rulers in number of states unfortunately often lead to a loss of political legitimacy and power vacuum in many of the states which then be exploited by extremist groups. Newly elected leaders often fail to maintain stability as they do not enjoy widespread political support while weak government structures cannot function effectively.
As President Obama rightly stated in his address at the opening of this General Assembly, violent extremism cannot be defeated by military force alone, since violent extremists do not fear death. It is, therefore, necessary to develop a more comprehensive strategy that addresses the problems of failed states, including how to promote moderation in ideology, religion and politics.
Moreover, in combating terrorism, we must also uphold the values of human rights as well as taking into due consideration the importance of economic recovery and growth.
Experience has shown, however, that external military interventions to help solve problems in a particular country should be weighed carefully, as quite often the remedy can be more harmful than the disease. While countries in transition need a lot of international assistance to foster democracy, imposing democracy through violent interventions can actually produce the opposite result.
As radicalism and violent extremism have become global transnational threats, and no country is safe, we must enhance both our individual and collective efforts to deal with them. In Indonesian experience, these efforts must involve multi-stakeholders, including civil society and community at every level.
Engagement with civil society is critical in supporting the efforts of the Government to strengthen the voice of the moderates. This will also amplify counter-narratives against terrorist ideology.
Promotion of tolerance and moderation is critical, particularly for our younger generation in order to prevent them from becoming radicalized.
Allow me to share with you briefly some pertinent points in relation with our agenda today.
First, bearing in mind that terrorism and violent extremism have mostly flourished in failed states made worse by prolonged conflicts and military interventions, the international community should contribute more funding to help these countries improve their social-welfare and equity rather than investing more on military interventions.
Second, Indonesia underlines the importance of strengthening the legal framework and international cooperation in addressing the issue of terrorism, particularly with the emergence of Foreign Terrorist Fighters.
And third, Indonesia is of the view that strong legislation and international cooperation should be complemented with soft approaches through de-radicalization and counter-radicalization programmes. Equally important is addressing the root causes of injustice and inequality that often give birth to radical and extremist movements. Indonesia has consistently tried to improve social-welfare and equity.
As part of the programme, we continue to promote the spirit of tolerance by empowering the moderates through dialogue and actively engage civil society, community and religious leaders, including the two largest Islamic organizations—Nahdhatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, to provide counter-narratives to the terrorist ideology.
Let me conclude, Excellency, by expressing our fervent hope that the “Follow-on Action Agenda” could complement efforts taken by the United Nations in Countering Violent Extremism as well as the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
And in this endeavour, Indonesia stands ready to commit itself to join these concerted efforts in countering terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
I thank you.