Rice: We must fight terrorism while avoiding repressive approaches

The U.S. must battle terrorism while remaining wary of approaches that fuel radicalization in the first place, a U.S. ambassador said on Monday during a U.N. Security Council briefing.

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice spoke on Monday during a briefing on counterterrorism in New York. Rice discussed the progress made against terrorism in Africa, but noted that success would call for a multidimensional response, including strategic initiatives to reduce violent extremism.

"Building state capacity to fight terrorists and enlisting communities in this fight remains indispensable," Rice said. "But we must be wary of repressive approaches, which often fuel the very radicalization they seek to eliminate. Indeed, reducing the threat of terrorism in Africa demands a broader effort to create freer, more prosperous and tolerant societies in which radicalization is rare, opportunity is palpable, and hope thrives."

Rice said that African nations, with help from the international community, have actively battled terrorist threats. Despite the recent efforts, al-Qaida and affiliated groups are still dangerous and are fighting smarter by exploiting socio-economic stresses, local grievances and political vacuums. Rice said the U.N. must focus its efforts on counteracting terrorism and the spread of extremist beliefs at the local level.

"This requires fighting poverty and corruption," Rice said. "It requires expanding trade and investment, and building critical infrastructure so that African economies can grow sustainably. It requires effective conflict prevention and resolution; it requires improving governments' delivery of services to their peoples, from quality education to health care to justice. And it requires ensuring that people are able to hold their governments accountable."

Rice noted the U.S. establishment of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, which supports citizen journalists in disseminating accurate and non-extremist information in Africa to counter violent extremist propaganda. She said that programs like this require political will and the capacity to successfully implement them.

"Through this framework and in partnership with the people and governments of the continent, the United States is working to empower citizens, promote good governance, strengthen human rights and the rule of law, and boost economic growth and development," Rice said. "In doing so, we remain mindful that no one nation can fight terrorism alone. We must work together, as partners, with shared commitment and mutual assistance to end this scourge. We owe nothing less to the legion of victims and to future generations."