Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism Ministerial Meeting

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement delivered by Cecile Hillyer, Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism.

Tēnā koutou katoa,

I’d like to thank the Permanent Missions of Spain and Iraq, as Co-Chairs of the Group of Friends of the Victims of Terrorism, and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, for coordinating today’s meeting.

For Aotearoa New Zealand, all conversations about countering terrorism and violent extremism take place in the shadow of the events of 15 March 2019, when a terrorist killed 51 Muslim New Zealanders at Christchurch masjidain. The Shuhadah, their families, and all impacted by those horrific events, remain at the heart of New Zealand’s work on this issue. That day led to New Zealand’s initiative with France to launch the Christchurch Call to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online, as the terrorist live-streamed his attacks crossing a global rubicon in online harm, and subjecting victims and their families to a further egregious act.

The New Zealand Government remains committed to addressing the enduring needs of survivors and to be guided by their voices. At home, this means ensuring those voices and perspectives of victims are reflected in our ongoing work programmes to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism.

A key domestic forum for helping amplify these voices is He Whenua Taurikura, a national counter-terrorism hui (meeting). The hui brings together a diverse range of participants from across New Zealand society - including some of those directly affected by the Christchurch attacks - to build relationships, understanding, and develop public discourse. The third He Whenua Taurikura hui will take place on 5 and 6 December this year.

New Zealand also remains committed to our work with global partners to support and promote universal human rights, including those of survivors of terrorism. In the context of this Group of Friends, today is an opportunity to identify ways to increase the visibility and reach of our collective work, and to maintain the momentum built so far.

The inaugural UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism in September 2022, established a critical platform for amplifying the stories of victims of terrorism, and giving voice to the enduring needs of survivors. New Zealand looks forward to supporting to the next iteration in Spain in 2024.

Like others, we also support consideration of ways to strengthen and advance language relating to victims of terrorism in the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, ahead of the 9th review in 2026.

Thank you.


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