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AU, UNOCT to promote counterterrorism through sports, African culture

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ACCRA, March 11 – The African Union (AU) Sports Council and the United Nations Office of Counterterrorism (UNOCT) on Monday announced their collaboration to use the tools of sports and African culture to prevent violent extremism.

The two institutions disclosed this at a press briefing on the sidelines of the ongoing 13th African Games in the Ghanaian capital of Accra.

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Valerio de Divitiis, Global Sports Programs Coordinator for UNOCT, said the collaboration is in line with the vision of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which encourages member states to strengthen efforts to improve security around particularly vulnerable targets, including sporting events.

The official said the three main priorities of the program are fostering meaningful inclusion, empowering youth and women to prevent violent extremism through sports, and promoting gender-responsive approaches and gender mainstreaming through sports to prevent violent extremism.

He said the program would also tap into youth experiences and the perspectives of the youth on how sporting and cultural values should contribute to preventing violent extremism.

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“The reason we are working in this field is that discrimination, marginalization, and structural inequalities, including gender inequality, are among the drivers of violent extremism,” the UNOCT official stated.

He also stressed the need for effective cultural cooperation because social cohesion and social development are key responses to peace and security needs and threats by terrorist organizations and violent extremist groups to the peaceful leadership of all societies.

Decius Chipande, Coordinator of the AU Sports Council, acknowledged sports as an effective tool for promoting global peace because it draws youths away from participating in acts of terrorism and violent extremism.


Chipande said that the AU Sports Council would implement the work plan developed with the UNOCT across Africa.

“We will ensure that we offer targeted and personalized interventions in the regional games,” he pledged.

Chipande said the implementation would enable policymakers and decision-makers at national levels to integrate sports and their values into policies to prevent violent extremism.

Source: Xinhua

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