Club de Madrid concerned with the resurgence of terror and committed to tackle extremism from a democratic perspective

The Club de Madrid, comprising 102 Members, all democratically elected, former Presidents and Prime Ministers from around the world, extend our sincere condolences to the families of those killed and injured, as well as to the people and the governments of the countries involved.

We are deeply concerned with the fierce resurgence of terror and intolerance across the world and with the impact these barbaric attacks are having on human rights, freedom and democracy. The assault on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher establishment in Paris last week shocked the world for its brutality and cruelty but, even more, the Paris attacks are not alone and there are growing expressions of radicalism and fundamentalism by violent groups trying to impose their narrow vision of society in a world that is and, by its very nature, must be diverse and plural.

While we were still mourning those killed in Paris, Boko Haram struck again in northeast Nigeria, causing widespread destruction and a high, although still undetermined, death toll; Syria and Irak continue to bear intolerable violence with religious and interethnic clashes that are also producing large numbers of victims in that region. All of these cases deserve our attention, our most severe rejection and our most dedicated commitment to fight terrorism and preserve democracy and human rights

These expressions of violence are an attempt to intimidate and divide our societies, making terror the means to weaken our allegiance to pluralism, multiculturalism and shared societies, replacing these with fear, exclusion, intolerance and xenophobia. These attacks exacerbate the tension between liberty and security, severely undermining democratic values.

Fundamentalism, as the barbaric Paris attacks have demonstrated, is a global threat and, thus, needs a global response. Ten years have passed since, in March 2005, the Club de Madrid brought together political leaders, experts and citizens from across the world to work on a global, democratic response to the global threat of terrorism. The outcome of that exercise was the Madrid Agenda, a call for action for governments, civil society, the media and individuals to tackle the challenge of terrorism bolstering the values of freedom and human dignity, through the protection and empowerment of citizens, building and strengthening democracy at all levels and promoting peace and justice worldwide, values that we have since worked to see explicitly cited in international, regional and national decision-making processes and policies.

The Club de Madrid’s commitment to tackling terrorism and extremism from a democratic perspective remains unflinching.  The values and ideals we defended in Madrid ten years ago are ever more relevant in light of Paris, Verviers, Aleppo or Nigeria 2015. We thus continue to: “…firmly reject any ideology that guides the actions of terrorists…decisively condemn their methods as terrorism constitutes one of the most serious violations of peace, international law and the values of human dignity”.

Today we want to express our grief for the victims and extend our condolences but we also want to reiterate our commitment to the values expressed in the Madrid Agenda and propose to revisit that exercise, as a way of contributing new ideas in the fight against terror and fear, working towards the same aim we have been pursuing since our organization was established – advancing democracy and democratic values, in short, democracy that delivers.