Tag Archives: Nigeria

World will have to fight the forces spreading terror by radicalising people on the basis of religion: Pranab Mukherjee

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Pranab MukherjeeNew Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, addressing the nation for the fifth time on the eve of Independence Day, said that in these four years, he has seen with some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against the national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly.

The divisive forces notwithstanding, the President went on to underscore that the “collective wisdom of the Indian society and polity gives him the confidence that such forces will remain marginalized and the country’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted.

The President said that he has seen with some satisfaction a stable and progressive democracy in full play with peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, from one government to another, and from one generation to another. “Notwithstanding the different hues of political thought, I have seen the ruling party and the opposition coming together in pursuit of national agenda of development, unity, integrity and security of the nation” he said adding in the just-concluded session of Parliament, the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of GST amidst non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity.

The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society, Mukherjee went on to emphasise. He also opined that every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of the civilization. We cannot call ourselves a civilized society if we fail in this duty.

The President drew attention to the spate of terror activities in different parts of the world having their roots in radicalization of people on the basis of religion and said these forces apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace. The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, United States, Nigeria, Kenya and closer home in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently. These forces now pose a danger to the entire comity of nations. The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice.

India through its unique civilizational contribution has repeatedly conveyed the message of peace and harmony to the trouble-torn world, Mukherjee pointed out. Pointing to the famous historian Arnold Toynbee, he said that in 1970 he had the following to say about India’s role in contemporary history. Quting him he said: “Today, we are still living in this transitional chapter of the world’s history, but it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning, will have to have an Indian ending, if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race” (unquote). Toynbee further went on to say that at the cross roads of human history, the only way of salvation of mankind is the Indian way.

On this occasion, the President also extended his special greetings and gratitude to the members of the armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces who are at the forefront of guarding and preserving the Unity, Integrity and Security of India.

US Legislation to counter violent extremism by involving foreign governments

Newsroom24x7 Staff

More than 35,000 foreigners from 120 countries have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS, and many of these fighters are now looking to return to their homes and to the United States to carry out attacks. -US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce

violent extremismWashington DC: Earlier this week, on Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed the Enhancing Overseas Traveler Vetting Act (H.R. 4403) to improve the vetting of travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases, enhance border management, and improve targeting and analysis.

H.R. 4403 will authorize the US Secretaries of the Department of State and Homeland Security to develop open-source software platforms to vet travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases. It permits the open-source software to be shared with foreign governments and multilateral organizations, like INTERPOL.

The latest legislation H.R. 4403 is a significant step forward to block the movement of suspected terrorists across countries. It comes after five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan also have attempted to enter the U.S. through its Southwest border as was reported last November.

Following the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, reports surfaced that one of the individuals under investigation for participating in the attacks had spent time in Latin America. We also learned that five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan have attempted to enter the U.S. through our Southwest border as was reported last November. Interpol has stated that only 5,600 out of 25,000 foreign terrorist fighters thought to be operating worldwide have been identified by law enforcement agencies. Rep. Jeff Duncan

Speaking on the House floor in support of the bipartisan legislation, introduced by Texas Rep. Will Hurd, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce made the following remarks:

“The global threat of terrorism has never been as high as it is today. In just the last 12 months, we’ve seen terrorists strike in my home state of California, and in France, Belgium, Turkey, India, Tunisia, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Pakistan and Iraq – to name a few. No country is immune. The ideology of violent extremism knows no boundaries – allowing individuals to become radicalized by terrorists overseas without leaving their neighborhood.

I just returned from Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia, where I heard first-hand about the foreign fighter threat. More than 35,000 foreigners from 120 countries have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS, and many of these fighters are now looking to return to their homes and to the United States to carry out attacks.

That is why information sharing between countries is more critical than ever.

The bipartisan Task Force’s report highlighted the lack of any comprehensive, global database of foreign fighters and suspected terrorists. In its absence, the U.S. and other countries rely on a patchwork system for exchanging extremist identities, which is weak and increases the odds that foreign fighters and suspected terrorists will be able to cross borders undetected.

H.R. 4403 will authorize the Secretaries of the Department of State and Homeland Security to develop open-source software platforms to vet travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases. It permits the open-source software to be shared with foreign governments and multilateral organizations, like INTERPOL.

Chairman of House subcommittee Ed RoyceIleana Ros-Lehtinen, on a March 22 hearing on Middle East and North Africa had said: “Hezbollah isn’t just a threat to our ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel, it is a growing threat to the region and to our own national security interests. The terror group – an Iranian proxy – has been helping keep Assad in power in Syria and prolonging the conflict there, while simultaneously building up its missile stockpile that it has targeted for attacks on Israel. There’s no doubt that, in the wake of the sanctions relief for Iran as part of the JCPOA, Iran will only increase its support for the terror group, making it an even greater menace. This threat Hezbollah poses to the region has also led the GCC and Arab League to designate it as a terrorist organization.

The issue of terrorists crossing borders the chairman of the US House subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Rep. Jeff Duncan earlier gave a broad insight regarding the magnitude of the problem and how it affects directly different countries by making the following observation:

“Following the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, reports surfaced that one of the individuals under investigation for participating in the attacks had spent time in Latin America. We also learned that five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan have attempted to enter the U.S. through our Southwest border as was reported last November. Interpol has stated that only 5,600 out of 25,000 foreign terrorist fighters thought to be operating worldwide have been identified by law enforcement agencies. In view of this, I believe it is critical that we examine potential threats to the U.S. and the region from border security vulnerabilities and work to strengthen our security cooperation with our neighbors.”
On a recent hearing by the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on FY 2017 Budget Priorities for South Asia: Recovery, Development, and Engagement, Chairman Matt Salmon has been quoted as saying that South Asia, with over 1.5 billion people, has enormous potential, but the region also faces major development challenges and threats from violent extremism, weak governance, and corruption. This hearing will discuss ways to improve and streamline the US efforts in South Asia.
On the March 23 hearing by the House subcommittee on the US “Administration’s Plan to Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility: At What Foreign Policy and National Security Cost?” the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce remarked: “According to the Obama administration’s own figures, more than 30 percent of detainees released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay have returned to terrorist activities. Those that remain are among the most hardened and highly trained terrorists in the world – and they are committed to killing Americans. This hearing will allow members to question officials from Departments of State and Defense on the president’s plan to close the prison by bringing some of these terrorists to U.S. soil, and releasing others to countries that are ill-equipped to stop them from returning to the battlefield.”

US, UK caution against attempts to undermine Electoral Commission’s independence in Nigeria

Newsroom24x7 Desk

nigeria decidesWashington DC: US Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond today issued a joint statement to welcome the “largely peaceful vote in Nigeria on March 28.

Kerry and Hammond stated that the Nigerian people have shown a commendable determination to register their vote and choose their leaders.

The joint statement goes on to say; “So far, we have seen no evidence of systemic manipulation of the process. But there are disturbing indications that the collation process—where the votes are finally counted—may be subject to deliberate political interference. This would contravene the letter and spirit of the Abuja Accord, to which both major parties committed themselves.”

The Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom would be very concerned by any attempts to undermine the independence of the Electoral Commission (INEC), or its Chairman, Prof. Jega; or in any way distort the expressed will of the Nigerian people, it has been emphasised.