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UN: Democracy Vital In Fight Against Terrorism

Democracy vital in fight against terrorism, says Secretary-General

Democracy is one of the most effective tools against terrorism, but the increasing gap between rich and poor around the world threatens to undermine its potential, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Along with social justice and greater respect for human rights, democracy gives "people hope of achieving a decent life by peaceful methods, thus alleviating the despair and alienation that can drive some towards extremism," he said in an address to the International Conference of New or Restored Democracies, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

"A democratic system also contributes to improved forms of conflict management, and it promotes equitable social and economic development," Mr. Ban said in the message, delivered by Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

Today's conference comes just six days after Algiers, Algeria, was rocked by terrorist attacks which took the lives of 17 UN personnel.

"The international community must be resolute in opposing those who prey on the innocent and vulnerable," Mr. Ban declared.

He also underscored the threat to democracy posed by the gap between rich and poor, calling for the benefits of globalization to extend equally within and among States.

"To fully unleash the democratizing potential of globalization, we must ensure that it serves to improve the lives of all people," the Secretary-General said.

The Conference offers a special opportunity to focus attention on the promotion and consolidation of democracy at all levels, and last month, the General Assembly recognized that 2008 marked its twentieth anniversary.


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