Indonesia Urges Soft Power To Tackle Terror

27 , 2011 | Source: The Jakarta Post

The war against terror post-9/11 has seen its share of successes and failures through the implementation of punitive legal measures by states and also multilateral efforts that have included military invasions in some parts of the world.

Learning from the experience of the past decade, countries that are actively engaged in defeating terrorism have come to a conclusion that the threat is still mounting and the nature of the challenge has not changed.

Speaking in a symposium on counter terrorism hosted by the UN Secretary-General here on Monday noon (local time), Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said efforts to combat terrorism are growing more complex and difficult.

“Terrorist cells are interconnected, networked and cross-border. They are also adaptable, autonomous and techno-minded,” Marty said.

In the future, counterterrorism measures by individual countries, or through international cooperation and collaboration, must go beyond the realm of law enforcement and address the socio-economic, intellectual and spiritual aspects that are at the root of terrorism.

“It requires us not just to advance freedom, but also to spread tolerance, and to steer people away from extremism and radicalism and empower moderates,” he said.

Counterterrorism efforts should, Marty said, address the local circumstances and conditions that give rise to terrorism such as political grievances, communal conflicts, economic and social marginalization, human rights issues and poverty. Most important of all, he said, all measures against terrorism must be consistent with the rule of law and a deep and abiding respect for human rights.

To address the non-law enforcement aspects of counter-terrorism measures, governments should include all stakeholders and the media also had an important role, he said.

“For in a democracy, freedom of the press ensures a dynamic free market of ideas — one in which prejudice and bigotry cannot rule. In Indonesia we regard the mass media as a strong ally against extremism and radicalism.”

The host of the symposium, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, agreed that terrorism cannot be combated only through security-related or law-enforcement means.

“Effective counterterrorism requires a combination of social, educational, economic and political tools that target those factors that make the terrorist option appear attractive. “The strategy also recognizes that human rights are an intrinsic part of the fight against terror, not an acceptable casualty of war.”

 

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