Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter to attend Washington summit on countering violent extremism

Bern, 04.02.2015 - At the invitation of United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, will discuss measures at the Washington summit on 19 February 2015 to deter young people from becoming involved in terrorist groups and networks. Preventing and combating the root causes of terrorism is a foreign policy priority for Switzerland.

On 19 February 2015 Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter will travel to the summit on countering violent extremism to which he was invited last week by United States Secretary of State John Kerry. In addition to governments from every continent, international organisations and representatives of civil society and the business community have also been invited to attend. The aim of the meeting is to agree on a common position against violent extremism.

Socio-political and economic measures, rather than criminal law instruments, will be central to the debate at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. Young people in particular should be deterred from being radicalised and recruited by terrorist groups and networks. In order to prevent individuals travelling to Syria and Iraq for jihadist aims, the early detection of the radicalisation of these individuals and appropriate measures to counter it are imperative.

Priority for Switzerland

With its strong peace, security and development policies and commitment to international law and the rule of law, Switzerland is an important voice in the fight against international terrorism. Switzerland attaches great significance to tackling the causes of terrorism, whether they stem from conflict, gross human rights violations, discrimination or lack of prospects.

Switzerland plays an active role in organisations such as the UN, the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the Council of Europe to find ways of preventing and countering terrorism in a comprehensive and effective manner. As OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in 2014, Mr Burkhalter made the fight against terrorism a priority. At the OSCE Ministerial Council in December 2014 in Basel two pioneering declarations were adopted concerning the phenomenons of foreign terrorist fighters and kidnapping for ransom.

Switzerland is also closely involved in the establishment of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) in Geneva. The GCERF is publicly and privately funded (Public Private Partnership) and supports local initiatives aimed at protecting vulnerable groups from radicalisation and violent extremism. Switzerland will provide approximately CHF 5 million to support the GCERF in its first four years.

Address for enquiries

FDFA Information
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
E-mail: info@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Last modification 03.10.2018

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