UN slams terrorist attack on crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice

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UNITED NATIONS, July 15 (APP): Senior United Nations officials Friday condemned the deadly attack in Nice, France, and called for stepped up efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement from his spokesperson, expressed his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of “this horrific act,” including to the government and all the people of France.

He underscored the need to intensify regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism.

“The Secretary-General hopes that all those responsible for this massacre will be rapidly identified and brought to justice,” according to the statement.

On Friday, Ambassador Koro Bessho of Japan, as the President of the Security Council for the month of July, read out a statement issued last night in which the Council “condemned in the strongest terms the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack” and stressed that terrorism constituted one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

“The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” Bessho said.

According to media reports, a truck rammed into pedestrians gathered to celebrate the French holiday in the southern seaside city of Nice on Thursday night, killing more than 80, including children. Dozens of people were injured.

The President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft,
expressed ‘horror’ at the number of people killed and injured.
“This slaughter of innocent civilians is yet another horrific example of the terrorist movement’s total contempt for any kind of humanity,” he said.

Lykketoft noted that this was one of a number of these mass killings across the world in recent weeks, and it was “a dire call” for even stronger international counterterrorism cooperation.

Appalled by the horrendous carnage, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the murderous assault on ordinary people, using a simple truck as a deadly weapon, is yet another blow aimed at the heart of humanity by extremists, according to his Office (OHCHR).

“There are now so many deadly attacks – in Baghdad, Brussels, Dhaka, Istanbul, Medina, Orlando – to name just a fraction of those that have occurred in recent months, that words of condemnation sound like damp leaves fluttering to the ground after another violent storm,” Zeid said through his spokesperson in Geneva.

He noted that while the driver’s motives were still to be established, “we are confronted by an ideology that seems to be creating an endless supply of fanatics prepared to kill for the sake of killing.”

The response, Zeid cautioned, needed to be “carefully calculated and highly sophisticated” so that it was not simply about heightening security but about deflating the ideology itself.

Irina Bokova, who heads the France-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), expressed the organization’s “deep sadness and sincere condolences” and stressed the importance of education and social inclusion in fighting terrorism.

“This barbaric attack will never win over our shared resolve to unrelentingly pursue our efforts to prevent violent extremism through education for global citizenship and human rights, respect for cultural diversity and the power of culture as a force for social inclusion,” Ms Bokova said.

Adding his voice to the chorus of condemnations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, also called the incident an “outrageous attack” and a “barbaric crime that is unjustifiable by all means.”

Taleb Rifai, the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, said “In the face of these forces of darkness, we must more than ever remain united to fight this global threat.” He added that Nice would continue to be one of the leading tourism destinations in France and in the world.