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Justyne Caruana’s speech at the UN Headquarters, New York

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Justyne Caruana's speech at the UN Headquarters, New YorkDr Justyne Caruana, Parliamentary Secretary for Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing, made a speech on behalf of the Government, during the UN Alliance of Civilisations Focal Point meeting, which took place on Friday in the UN Headquarters, New York.

Dr Caruana said that, Malta is particularly concerned about the developments unfolding in the Mediterranean region which is being severely put to the test as we are facing a huge influx of people who are fleeing terror and oppression, among other causes.

"For decades Malta maintained the importance of having a secure Mediterranean, claiming that there can be no security in Europe if there is no security in the Mediterranean. Terrorist groups that have sought allegiance with ISIS are taking advantage of the current political instability in countries like Libya, and have gained a foothold. Their activity will not only reduce the likelihood of a long-term political solution to the Libya crisis but has also increased the threat of terrorist activity in other North African countries."

"Recent terrorist attacks clearly demonstrate that terrorism requires a united and global response. To this end, Malta welcomes the recently published United Nations Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (24 December 2015) which is being formally presented by the Secretary General today. Malta also commends the efforts undertaken by the UNAOC to explore and form new partnerships to build trust and combat the spread of violent extremism," Dr Caruana said.

"Education, good governance and rule of law are crucial. In this regard the International Institute on Justice and the Rule of Law in Malta founded in June 2014, has been very active in convening practitioners, from different parts of the world, to provide rule of law-based training to lawmakers, police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials and other justice sector stakeholders on how to address terrorism and related transnational criminal activities within a rule of law framework."

Justyne Caruana added that, "moreover, the use social media plays an important role, but can be used in both a positive and negative manner. It is being used to recruit youth to engage in violent extremist acts. This narrative needs to be effectively countered also through this same media."

"Policy makers need to ensure that the voice of civil society is better heard and respected in policy making and implementation," Dr Caruana said.

She stated that, such processes need to be open, transparent and inclusive. "The engagement of civil society, which often is very close to the disaffected and the most vulnerable, is surely more constructive and significantly more effective."

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