Regional Workshop on Prevention of Online Radicalization

The Workshop aims to bring together experts from the Region in order to address the core how the Internet is used for radicalization and define responses on various aspects of online radicalization, which will be mirrored into recommendations for action of the relevant national authorities. Each participant is encouraged to share lessons on what works in countering online radicalization at the national, regional and international level.

NO to Violence, YES to Interculturality

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner addresses a difficult topic in a multicultural part of the country (Vojvodina) which faces unique challenges. Hooliganism is attractive to young people who lack critical thinking skills and intercultural skills, creating a local security threat as hate is linked to violent anti-social behaviour. This project tackles football hooliganism by engaging students in two vocational schools in the city – a strategic selection that reflects the tendency for these students to gravitate to hooliganism and associated anti-social behaviour. The partner recognizes the strong links between hooliganism and a lack of tolerance and open-mindedness among supporters. The students will be baseline and end-line surveyed on various aspects of intercultural competence, and engaged in peer training and workshops on issues including human rights, tolerance and emotional regulation. The project will also include the development of educational materials, visits to cultural sites to ensure “real life” exposure to new ideas and a round table discussion with relevant community stakeholders.

Switch Prejudice Off

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner (Civic Initiatives), will conduct teaching training on topics related to violent extremism and radicalization with the aim to empower civic education practices. The focus will be on civic education teachers currently working in targeted Niš high schools, grammar schools and vocational schools. Teachers will be trained using materials based on the UNESCO “Teacher’s guide on the prevention of violent extremism,” with several hundred students being instructed by these teachers. Teachers will use interactive teaching methods, asking students to present on related topics to their own student parliaments, parent councils, school management, and also to peers in other schools. The project also envisions a final public event to present the results and deliver recommendations for the Ministry of Education. Civic education is aimed at educating students at how they fit in to a society, and how they can engage in their community – skills critical for ensuring participation and agency. Research shows that a sense of helplessness often drives young people to join extremist groups, where they hope they might enjoy a sense of agency and action they lack in their society.

Youth – Active Citizens in Building Local Community

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project have an implementation partner (Women’s Forum Prijepolje). The project will hold four educational workshops on the importance of active participation of youth in local community building and public policy decision-making, including at least 60 high school students. The project will implement a corresponding media campaign on these issues, creating three TV shows, four TV clips and one TV spot. The aim is to engage young people in active civic education, as many students receive little civic education in school, or learn only theory rather than hands-on learning and practical skills.

Prijepolje is a municipality in Sandzak that is quite different form the more often visited Novi Pazar. It has a fairly even balance of Bosniaks (Muslims) and Serbs (Orthodox Christians), as well as Montenegrins. It therefore provides an opportunity to engage on civic education with youth in a different demographic environment, to better understand what young people think about their role in community, and mechanisms to prevent anti-social behaviour.

United in the prevention of violence in sport

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner addresses the dynamics of hooliganism which are often related to more extremist  actions, including hate speech and peer violence. It will also reveal dynamics that lead young people to seek belonging and purpose in groups that encourage anti-social behaviour. The partner will work together with local security authorities and civil society actors in developing and implementing educational modules aimed at preventing violent youth hooliganism through appropriate educational activities among youth in elementary and secondary schools, supporter associations and informal fan groups. Research surveying violent hooliganism threats will be conducted to ensure and increase awareness of risk factors that can help to identify young people at risk of getting involved in hooligan groups and associated violent behaviour. The partner will also identify and test the necessary infrastructure to conduct fan coaching activities aimed at preventing violence among youth supporters on match days. Preventive media campaigns and support for associated youth activities will serve as impact multipliers.

Table top exercise “Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Promoting Prevention and Resilience”

From 7 to 9 November, the OSCE Mission to Skopje and U.S. Embassy, in co-operation with the National Committee for Countering Violent Extremism and the Fight against Terrorism, the Partnership for Peace Consortium (PfPC) and the Combating Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) are organising a table-top (TTX) exercise entitled “Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Promoting Prevention and Resilience“.
The goal of this table-top exercise is to elaborate a comprehensive set of policy recommendations which can support the country, as well as other regional partners, to develop capacities which address security challenges identified during the TTX. This conference aims to explore policy issues related to the ongoing risks of foreign terrorist fighters and returnees, the country’s response, together with future counter-terrorism and security-related efforts.

For more information on the Partnership for Peace Consortium (PfPC) please visit: https://pfp-consortium.org/

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Roundtable of the Slovenian National Platform for Preventing Violent Radicalisation and Terrorism

The 3rd roundtable of the national platform was organised by the Slovenian Criminal Police, assisted by a local NGO, the Institute for the Development of Inclusive Society (IRVD). Assistant Director of the Criminal Police Mr Boštjan Lindav pointed to a full understanding on part of the Slovenian security agencies for the implications that Radicalisation leading to Violent Extremism could have for the security of Slovenian citizens – despite an extremely low perception of any kind of threat among the population. The issue should not only be linked to the issue of migration and refugees or religion-based extremism in order not to neglect other kinds of extremism and their factors. The roundtable concluded that the awareness of other state sectors and the civil society should be further strengthened, as well as their active involvement in the RAN (Radicalisation Awareness Network) concept, the implementation of which is currently limited to the law enforcement/security area. It was also concluded the the external factors (incl. the vicinity of the Western Balkans) should also be considered in the formation of relevant national policies.

The national platforms are a crucial concept, enabling the development of RAN methodology. This instrument is currently being developed in the Western Balkan Beneficiaries through the Slovenian-led “First Line” project. National platforms will provide a multi-agency approach and the structures (scopes) will be mirrored at the local level. This endeavour is a crucial, core part of the IPA II 2016 action to be coordinated by DCAF Ljubljana.

Support to Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) in the Western Balkans

The regional action, funded by the EU instrument IPA II 2016, will contribute to sustainable regional cooperation efforts in the Western Balkans in the area of CT, P/CVE, dealing with phenomena of FTFs and radicalization in the designated period.
The action will assist the WB countries in their efforts by transferring EU good practices and standards. It will further support the setting up of a national inter-ministerial P/CVE platform in each WB country, mirrored by multi-agency co-ordination arrangements at the local level to ensure a top-down and bottom-up approach to P/CVE as well as it will represent a solid and sustainable ground for P/CVE national capacities. Furthermore, the action will provide support to several small-scale actions.

The project is coordinated by DCAF Ljubljana, and the implementation partners are the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Sarajevo, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).