ASIAN REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON “THE ROOT CAUSES OF TERRORISM AND THE ROLE OF YOUNG PEOPLE”

3rd – 7th August 2002
Melaka, Malaysia.

Executing Agency

World Youth Foundation(WYF)

In Cooperation with

  • Economic Planning Unit Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysia
  • Ministry of Finance, Malaysia
  • Ministry of Youth & Sports Malaysia
  • National Institute of Public Administration, Malaysia
  • Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Geneva
  • World Assembly of Youth Melaka, Malaysia

PAPER & PRESENTERS

  • Paper 1
  • Paper 2
  • Paper 3
  • Paper 4
  • Paper 5
  • Paper 6
  • Paper 7

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM.

Dato’ Dr S Sothi Rachagan

THE WEB OF TERROR.

Shyam Tekwani

THE ROOT CAUSES OF TERRORISM.

Javed Jabbar

RELIGION, PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS.

Naren Prasad

CYBER TERRORISM – A LEGAL VIEW POINT.

Pavan Duggal

MEDIA IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS.

Stephen Vines

A HUMAN APPROACH TO TACKLING TERRORISM.

Nicholas Howen

RATIONALE

Asia is the largest continent in the world with a population amounting to more than 2.5 billion. The appreciation of diversity, the ability to live and let others live, the ability to adhere to one’s convictions while accepting that others adhere theirs, the ability to enjoy one’s right and freedoms without infringing on those of others, tolerance has always been considered a moral virtue. Tolerance is also the foundation of democracy and human rights. Intolerance in multi-ethnic, multi-religious or multicultural societies leads to violations of human rights, violence or armed conflict. Since the end of the cold war, there has been a steady increase in social, religious and cultural conflicts in South East Asia. Too many lives have been lost, human rights have come under direct assault. Intolerance is increasingly seen as a major threat to democracy, peace and security. Yet any talk on intolerance raises more questions than answers.

It is quite clear that in many Third World countries the economic conditions have deteriorated considerably since the Rio Conference in 1992 and indeed in many ways the difference in trends between rich and poor countries have almost doubled. Many Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have been sinking even deeper into abject poverty, with a large percentage of the young people unemployed. Far from the last decade having been one of sustainable development, in many cases it has not been one of any kind of development. Hopefully, there is some recognition of this fact and this should concentrate the minds of our politicians, so that they will look at models other than rampant globalisation, and instead turn towards sustainable development. Afghanistan is clearly a case in point, where there has not been any kind of development since Rio, and it must surely be one of the most eroded and poverty stricken countries in the world, It is clear that a 20 year war gives no possibility for development of any kind.

The war on terrorism starts within each of our respective sovereign borders. It will be fought with increased support for democracy programmes, judicial reform, conflict resolution, poverty alleviation, economic reform and health and education programmes.
All theses together deny the reason for terrorists to exist or find safe heavens within these borders.

In his recent address to the General Assembly of the United Nations – postponed by nearly seven weeks due to the attacks – Kofi Annan referred to four “burning issues”. The Secretary – General cited poverty, HIV/AIDS, conflict prevention and environmental protection as demanding international resolve and action. Countries need to finds ways to work together to tackle multiple shared challenges, requiring new mechanisms for international cooperation.

The breeding ground of terrorism includes poverty, exclusion, ignorance, intolerance, discrimination and other conditions which act as a blight upon the lives of millions. All of these conditions are now experienced on a world scale and must be addressed globally. Radicalism and extremism are often fed by poverty and lack of access to information. As many researchers stated, poverty as one of the major plagues of the world and may easily foster deviated behaviour. Nevertheless poverty is not the only reason for this. Terrorism is a more complex phenomenon and it would be too simplistic to say that it is only generated by poverty. It also has educational and behavioural roots. Equally we cannot blame it on religion. This would be an even greater mistake and the biggest trap of our century because if we do this mistake we will all be dragged in the nightmare of religious wars which are no novelty in the history of humanity and thus we would only move with hundreds of years backwards. Our world is characterized by diversity. There is diversity of religions like there is diversity that should be taken into account when globalization is addressed to each and every citizen of the planet.

Terrorism has taken root because the world has ignored the plight of oppressed people in many places. The phenomena is reflected in the struggles of the Filipino Muslims, the Achenese, the Palestines and the Kashmiris among others. Countering terrorism is an international endeavour. The problems are deep-rooted and there are neither easy answers or final solutions. It is necessary for the international community to examine the root causes of terrorism and what role governments, civil society, NGOs and the media can play in conflict resolution and prevention and peace initiatives.

What this critical moment in history calls for is coordinated and new approaches to global governance. As more and more youths, at present, are able to cast their votes through the electoral processes or voice their concerns within the local, national, international political bodies – there are chances that future generations of youth will find that there are more avenues available to voice their concerns and play a role in creating good governance structures. Global environmental and development concerns might provide the common negotiation ground for new mechanisms of governance sensitive to income disparities, socioeconomic capacities and political realities. The World Summit on Sustainable Development present unique opportunities for the creation of a new climate of international cooperation and a fertile ground for a new ‘global deal’.

It is obvious that alleviation of poverty, improving of governance, environmental policies, international cooperation, human development and social cohesion are vital issues which will also be addressed at a global level in the Johannesburg summit. The Johannesburg Summit can become a big and unique opportunity for the World’s governments and civil society to address globalization from a sustainable development perspective. Concrete actions in peace building and conflict prevention should be developed. In a world affected by poverty and conflicts no country can flourish. First of all, efforts should be concentrated to prevent and cure this major plagues of humanity, poverty and war.

Terrorism benefits a few but leads to economic, livelihood and human losses – losses which could run into billions of dollars. Thus it would be more advantageous and will make good economic sense too, to prevent terrorism in the first instance rather than controlling the damages done through it.

In the aftermath of the September 11, the outcome of these events will be extremely salient to global governance. The international community needs to show an unprecedented determination and commitment to begin bridging the rifts that dissect the world and to building new governance structures. These are challenges we face and have to overcome.

WHO ARE WE

The World Youth Foundation (WYF) is a non-governmental organization whose aims are to promote research, development and documentation of youth programmes beneficial to youths worldwide. Since its inception in 1994, WYF has provided a platform for the interchange of ideas among youth organizations both local and internationally by organizing various seminars for youth on areas such as population, HIV/AIDS, human rights, education and globalization. Its mission is to serve as a catalyst to strengthen and enhance the dignity and well-being of youth. The Foundation works closely with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Malaysian Youth Council, UN Agencies, ESCAP and the World Assembly of Youth.

World Youth Foundation (WYF) considers that there is no justification to killing innocent people, and that North-South dialogue, mutual understanding of religions and cultures, respect of other and eradication of illiteracy are ways to prevent terrorism and war. In an effort at bridging racial barriers and removing misunderstandings among youth in the Asia Pacific region WYF organized the Asia Pacific Workshop on Racism: Youth Tolerance in the New Millennium in July 2001. WYF has long recognized the importance of issues on Human Rights; and the workshop on Racism was the first step in its effort to address the issues and challenges of racism faced by our young people.

WHY YOUTH?

In the face of globalization and heighten talk of war looming over the Asia region, youth have more energy than before to dialogue on the issues of sustainable development to redevelop this new world. As the topics covered in this workshop are similar to Chapter 21 in Agenda 21, WYF will use this summit to prepare youth to intervene on the coming World Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled in August 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. A report of the dialogue of the issues and recommendations of the summit will be given to the preparatory committee of the WSSD ahead of the Johannesburg Summit.

This workshop is a multicultural encounter, a meeting point for young people from many nations and from different social, ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds who will seek to empower youth to continue to integrate a dialogue between youth and state and non-state actors and all stakeholders of sustainable development. This workshop will also give an opportunity to young people as messengers of tolerance and mutual understanding to promote cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.

Youth are the heart and soul of a nation. They have the energy, commitment and creativity to advance the struggle against racism. They are the voice of the present and the future. They are among the most exposed to racism in their schools and on the streets, villages, town and cities. The importance of the role of young people has not been given sufficient attention. Young people between the ages of 10-24 represent more than a quarter of the world’s population hence it is a mistake to dismiss the young when they represent such a large part of the total population.

In order to have a meaningful impact, the voice of youth must be heard by national and international leaders who will advance the ideas of world youth and facilitate their participation in international events, particularly those in which decisions are taken that will direct and shape how governments and non-governmental organizations respond to the issue of racism and related forms of discrimination and intolerance.

Considering that there is no forum for young people around the world to come together to discuss and formulate solutions on terrorism and the root causes of terrorism and considering that particularly young people are excluded from and marginalized in the decision making processes, resulting in limiting their full and active participation politically, socially and culturally, WYF would like to host a 5 day workshop to generate dialogue and discussion between youths and youth related agencies, to build a future based on education for all, a culture of peace, scientific cooperation, respect of cultural diversity and call for a permanent dialogue among cultures and civilizations.

OBJECTIVE

The objectives of this proposal, including the above mentioned workshop are:

  • to examine the root causes of terrorism
  • to develop programmes that can build a new generation of leadership who can thrive in a multicultural and free society
  • to engage youth organizations in promoting racial harmony and tolerance; enhance understanding and sharing within and between cultures
  • to involve young people to come out with a plan of action against terrorism
  • to develop strategies for youth input and participation in the deliberations and decision-making at national, regional and global level
  • to come out with interactive ways to teach people that terrorism has no place in our society, and to use ‘non-violence’ as a method of change.
  • to demand that the current world order be revised by searching for practical ways
  • to integrate the millions of people who lack access to resources, are not politically represented and are willing to participate in the social and economic development process
  • to call for a renewed commitment to the fundamental purpose of the UN systems: multilateral cooperation and to principals of mutual understanding, peace and security.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

Youths from the Asian Region namely Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Palestine, Pakistan, Philippines, New Zealand, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Turkey, Vietnam ,Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates.

Observers from UNDP,. UNESCO, OHCHR, World Summit of Sustainable Development Secretariat New York, and other international bodies, young parliamentarians, researchers, civil society organizations and academicians where human rights is a cornerstone of their work.

Youth from Malaysian local youth NGO’s to a maximum of 50 participants only.

CRITERIA

In selecting participants preference will be given to youth workers/leaders, the criteria of geographical and gender balance will be respected.
Output

At the end of the workshop, a regional plan of action will be documented. A draft note on follow-up activities and strategies in support of the regional plan will be presented on the last day of the workshop to be implemented by OHCHR and UNESCO.

Tentative Topics

Root causes of terrorism – which will deal with hatred, violence, poverty, the negative side of globalization

Definition of Terrorism , the rule of law, and human rights education , terrorism in cyberspace, the virtual dangers. Has the internet altered the dynamics and complexities of terrorism in Asia

Religion and culture of peace – how to create and promote a culture of peace, thrive in a multi-cultural society and teach people how to use non-violence as a agent of change, how to manage diversity in a multicultural society

Youth and the United Nations – how do young people perceive the phenomena of terrorism and conflicts in Asia, what can they do to improve their capabilities in addressing conflicts and peace initiatives.

Media in conflict situations – myths and realities, what constructive role can the media play in conflict situations

Sustainable development – how to address environmental and social woes as urgently and aggressively as possible as they are prosecuting the war on terrorism.

World Youth Foundation (299361-M):An NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Address: World Youth Foundation, P.O Box 584, 75760 Melaka, Malaysia. Telephone: +606-2320911 Fax: +606-2323911 Email: wyfhq@wyf.org.my

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