Edited by Ben Saul
Chapter 37: United Nations measures to address the root causes and conditions conducive to terrorism, and to prevent violent extremism (PVE): 1972–2019
This chapter examines two shifts in counter-terrorism discourse within the United Nations, designed to prevent terrorism: (1) greater attention to the ‘conditions conductive to terrorism’ (replacing the contested language of ‘root causes’), complementing the traditional reactive emphasis on criminal suppression of terrorism; and (2) a related broadening of counter-terrorism discourse into an overlapping agenda to ‘prevent violent extremism’ (PVE) where conducive to terrorism. These trends are reflected in the UN General Assembly’s Global Counter-terrorism Strategy of 2006 and the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violence Extremism of 2015. The advantages of these new approaches are discussed (including a renewed emphasis on the protection of human rights and the rule of law), while acknowledging a range of conceptual and practical limitations, including how the new language in some respects simply shifts the terrain of contestation into new concepts.
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