NewsInternational Conference on Preventing and Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism
From 26-28 April 2016, Hedayah and the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) co-organized an international conference on “Preventing and countering radicalization and violent extremism as related to the Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) threat” in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The working conference included officials from GCC and neighboring countries, in addition to government and non-government expert speakers on the topic of radicalization prevention and/or rehabilitation programs for FTFs in their respective countries. The conference aimed to explore the process of developing and implementing an effective preventative policy and criminal justice strategy against radicalization and violent extremism, with a focus on the specific threat posed by FTFs.
Speakers and participants showcased policies, tools and criminal justice strategies used in their countries to counter radicalization and violent extremism, good practices and lessons learned. They also reviewed ways of strengthening cooperation and capacity both at national and regional level. Panel topics included developing effective national strategies for CVE, addressing the challenges of returning FTFs, challenges in investigation and prosecution, preventing and countering the misuse of the Internet, rethinking and reinforcing international cooperation in criminal matters, the importance of communities and civil society in overcoming the FTF threat and the threat of radicalization to violence in prison settings.
The key outcomes of these discussions emphasized the following: 1) there is no universal, one-size fits all solution; 2) an understanding of local drivers and contexts must always form the evidence-base for any CVE intervention; 3) sharing of good practices provided useful ideas and programs which could be tailored to the needs and threats facing specific regions or contexts. Additionally, it was mentioned that there is a need in the region for comprehensive national strategies, with the involvement of different parts of government and to include civil society. Finally, international cooperation in all aspects of prevention, investigation and prosecution of FTFs is crucial in facing the international nature of violent extremist acts and recruitment.