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    UNIS/CP/927
    27 July 2016

    UNODC Chief tells St. Petersburg audience: "Terrorism, violent extremism are world's major challenges"

    Speech delivered at St. Petersburg security conference warns on deadly dangers of radicalized fighters; call for links between crime and terrorism to be tackled and for greater advocacy among youth

    ST. PETERSBURG/VIENNA, 27 July (UN Information Service) -The Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, told a security conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, today that, over the last ten years, "the terrorism threat has evolved and expanded, becoming increasingly decentralized and diffuse.

    "Terrorism is now more of a threat to international peace and security than ever," said Mr. Fedotov. "Challenges range from the use of information technologies to spread violent extremist ideologies, to the flow of foreign terrorist fighters across borders."

    The rapidity of these changes could be seen in the growth of ISIL (Da'esh), noted Mr. Fedotov. He said ISIL has inspired attacks around the world. The group has also been joined by large numbers of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) with significant numbers from Europe, South Asia and South-East Asia.

    "Some of these fighters have left conflict zones after becoming disillusioned. However, others remain radicalized and retain both the intent and capability to conduct terrorist attacks in their country of origin or residence," said Mr. Fedotov.

    UNODC was helping countries through its Global Programme on Strengthening the Legal Regime Against Foreign Terrorist Fighters in the Middle East, North African and Balkan Regions.

    He said, "UNODC is expanding its work on countering terrorist financing in relation to FTFs with a new project supporting States to specifically target ISIL-related funding streams."

    Multi-agency action was also pivotal to the international community's work and UNODC was assisting countries in the Middle East and North Africa to handle extradition requests and mutual legal assistance.

    Mr. Fedotov also highlighted the need to enable countries to successfully counter violent extremism and radicalization among young people and he also proposed tackling the links between transnational organized crime and terrorism.

    The UNODC Executive Director was speaking in the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg at the opening of the 15th Meeting of Heads of Special Services, Security Agencies and Law Enforcement Organizations.

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    The Executive Director's speech is available at bit.ly/2a45dAc

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    For further information please contact:

    David Dadge
    Spokesperson, UNODC
    Phone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
    Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org