Terrorism and violent extremism


Terrorism poses a major threat to international peace and security. Terrorist acts are the culmination of processes that often begin with radicalization, the formation of extremist views and acceptance of violence as a means through which to attempt change. As with other types of offences, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism, but a number of conducts are universally accepted as expressions thereof. Terrorist related offences include the use of violence for political purposes, such as the hijacking of aircraft, targeting of marine vessels, the use of chemical or nuclear weapons against civilians, kidnapping, and other forms of targeting civilians. Terrorism itself is not a new phenomenon, yet the early 21st Century is being shaped by a more intense focus on the issue and an increased awareness of terrorist acts and groups.


Key messages

  • The use of violence against the population to achieve a political goal is not legitimate.
  • Respect for differences in opinion is a core component of any healthy, thriving community.
  • Violent extremism is often driven by feelings of isolation and exclusion, as well as fear and ignorance. To strengthen a sustainable solution, responses to violent extremism must be implemented in a framework respectful of human rights and the rule of law, otherwise exclusion is exacerbated.

Video and teacher's guide


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