The Malta Independent 29 May 2016, Sunday

Tackling economic issues will serve to address extremism – Justyne Caruana

Sunday, 17 January 2016, 18:04 Last update: about 5 months ago

While we need to find political solutions to conflicts, we must also address the issues of economic and sustainable development to tackle the root causes of extremism, parliamentary secretary Justyne Caruana said.

Speaking  during the UN Alliance of Civilizations Focal Points Meeting on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Dr Caruana said that the assembly has focused a consistent part of its work on this, particularly though activities of the PAM Panel on Trade and Investments in the Mediterranean. 

To fight intolerance and violence, we must unify our efforts and engage all the society, from political and religious leaders to academic experts and civil society, and forge a multi-faceted response that respects international human rights and humanitarian law.

One key priority is the revitalization of the inter-religious dialogue and the spreading of the values carried by all faiths, based on renouncing violence, promoting peace and encouraging exchange. 

Communities must not be left alone in fighting violent extremism; we must listen to their experiences and concerns, and work together to create behavioural shifts and changing mind-sets.  

Youths are both the primary victims of radical ideologies and the main target for recruitment by violent extremist groups, she said. We must show them a better way through endeavours to end poverty, inequality, exclusion and lack of opportunity, while assuring access to education. 

As parliamentarians, we are strongly committed to reach these goals which can be efficiently supported by a constructive use of media, particularly social media, to build trust to foster tolerance and civic values. 

PAM, as part of its role as the leading international parliamentary organization in the Mediterranean region, promoting cooperation and dialogue among Member States, has also established an Academic Platform to consolidate synergies among the principle actors in the fields of higher education and research for the benefit of intercultural dialogue and exchange, objective oriented education and training, and employment opportunities.

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