Excellency President Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government of the G20,
The theme of this session is timely and affects us all.
Let me be once again by expressing our strong condemnation of the senseless terror attacks in Paris on Friday. We also condemn the recent bombings in Ankara, Turkey and also extend our condolences to the Russian Federation on the tragic loss of life during the plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Our hearts also go out to the people of Lebanon following the twin suicide bombs that claimed lives and injured many in Beirut.
At the outset, I wish to caution that we must not conflate the discussion on terrorism with the refugee crisis, especially given the very real complexities underlying their respective root causes.
We should be careful to ensure that the messages we convey to the world are not misunderstood. Put frankly, not every refugee is a terrorist. We must avoid this type of labelling or inter-linkages due to the negative and undesirable consequences that could result.
Terrorism and violent extremism continue to result in the killing and maiming of innocent people; damage property and infrastructure, foster fear in local communities, undermine social and economic confidence and, in many cases, entrench the forces of poverty.
We must recognise that as long as there is conflict in the world, refugees will be a reality to contend with.
Given the attacks in Europe and several other acts of terror in Africa and the Middle East, collective global action against all forms of terrorism under the auspices of the United Nations is imperative. Addressing the root causes of terrorism is also critical.
The painful human tragedy of the current refugee crisis into Europe has highlighted the need to find lasting solutions.
Africa also has enormous flows of refugees and migrants due to instability and underdevelopment in a number of regions. We speak from experience as South Africa because our country is a host to millions of migrants and refugees seeking security or a better life.
The most prevalent cause of the current trend of terrorism and the breeding ground for violent extremism is primarily the result of unabated war and conflict in a region where, for a very long time, there has been a preference for military action instead of political solutions.
Other factors, including socio-economic ones, interference by outside parties and the pursuance of the regime change doctrine has also played a significant role in perpetuating the ongoing cycle of conflict and instability.
The lack of progress on political dialogue and the absence of a sustainable long-term solution have created the space for terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the others associated with them to exploit divisions for the furtherance of their distorted beliefs.
As terrorism and violent extremism spreads, the international community must reflect on and adapt its response because it is clear that our actions thus far have fallen short of what is required.
In addressing the causes of forced migration due to conflicts, we should do a few things.
We must establish good governance, support overall sustainable development, safeguard the protection of human rights and ensure that any military actions are conducted strictly in accordance with international law, under United Nations Security Council mandates.
South Africa reiterates the call to EU leaders to respond urgently and as a region with a common, comprehensive and sustainable policy with the focus on sharing responsibility among its members, while addressing the problems in the sending countries, pledging support as necessary.
The international community must also redouble its efforts in the Middle East to promote conditions for inclusive dialogue aimed at achieving sustainable political solutions to the conflicts in the region.
We have already started to seek home grown solutions as Africa. The objective of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) and the multinational African Standby Force, which successfully held its first joint exercise in South Africa in October 2015, are intended to intervene when conflicts arise as such conflicts cause the displacement of people.
South Africa remains firm in its condemnation of all forms of terrorism and we pledge our support for countering this threat within the framework of the United Nations.
South Africa is also supportive of efforts within the UN system to promote dialogue, peace, security and understanding.
I thank you.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS