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OSCE PA leaders vigorously condemn recent terror attacks, call for increased social cohesion at times of unprecedented health and economic challenges

The leaders of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly firmly condemn the terror attack which took place in Vienna on Monday, killing at least four people and injuring 22. “We stand in solidarity with the families of the victims and wish a speedy and full recovery to those injured in these horrific events. Vienna is the home of the OSCE and of international diplomacy, and its citizens have always stood by multiculturalism and tolerance,” stressed OSCE PA President George Tsereteli.

The recent surge in terrorist activities across the OSCE region is worrisome. Appalling attacks in France, Turkey, Afghanistan, Germany, and Croatia, whether Islamic State-, right-wing- or lone-wolf-incited, are only some of the latest stark examples, Tsereteli pointed out. They demonstrate that terrorism and violent extremism remain global security threats affecting all OSCE participating States.

“The OSCE PA stands by belief that the brutal acts of terrorism have no religion, race or nationality, and certainly no place in modern democratic societies. They know no borders, and are never justifiable wherever and by whomsoever committed,” underscored President Tsereteli.

While certainly distressing, terrorist acts tend to sharpen the international community’s resoluteness against terrorism. “Far from dividing us, such dreadful attacks only reinforce our determination to actively defend our shared freedoms and values, including freedom of expression,” noted Reinhold Lopatka, Chair of the OSCE PA Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism. “At the same time, acts which, under the banner of freedom of expression, fuel hate speech, hatred and radicalization should also be avoided and widely condemned as undermining fundamental intercultural and inter-religious relations and dialogue,” Lopatka added.

“The economic and social distress triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is no reason to shift our attention away from the terrorism threat. On the contrary, this prolonged health crisis provides a particularly fertile ground for terrorist groups to boost their popularity and recruit new sympathizers among vulnerable groups, stigmatize minorities, foment divisions in our societies, spread violent ideologies and prepare new attacks. Thus, countering terrorism and radicalization must always remain a top priority,” concluded Chair Lopatka.

“The OSCE PA, through its Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism and its strong network of partnerships with the OSCE, the United Nations and like-minded inter-parliamentary fora, continues to mobilize parliamentarians on counter-terrorism and to promote co-ordinated responses at international level,” emphasized OSCE PA Secretary General Montella. “At the same time, we call on authorities of all OSCE participating States to strongly denounce all forms of extremist rhetoric, racism and hate speech, as well as to more effectively address the underlying social, economic and political factors conducive to radicalization and violent extremism. National parliaments play a vital role in bridging diverging views and building cohesive societies which reject all forms of terrorism and violent extremism,” concluded Montella.

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