VIENNA, 23 October 2012 – The challenge of countering violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism among young people and the role of youth in countering these phenomena are the focus of a two-day meeting organized by the OSCE that began today in Vienna.
More than 100 experts from academia, civil society, the media and authorities of OSCE participating States will examine the dynamics behind the terrorist radicalization of youth and discuss ways to effectively prevent it in a human rights-compliant manner.
“Human rights-compliant measures are indispensable to effectively preventing youth terrorist radicalization,” said Snježana Bokulić, the Head of the Human Rights Department at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). “Human rights violations are themselves among the conditions conducive to the violent radicalization of young women and men,” she stressed.
Keynote speakers Catherine Morgan and Gerard Hughes, from the non-governmental organization Youth Action Northern Ireland, explored how young people become radicalized and the challenges that this presents within communities.
“It is necessary to try out innovative approaches to be more effective in working with young men and women on preventing radicalization towards violence,” Morgan said. “Young people are themselves key actors in the prevention of violent radicalization. They should not be merely seen as part of the problem, they are part of the solution.”
Participants will identify good practices and lessons learnt from activities to promote civic engagement, counter youth recruitment to gangs, and combat discrimination, racism, xenophobia and intolerance among young people. They will also explore concrete initiatives to counter youth terrorist radicalization through education, the media, the arts and sports.
“Effectively countering violent extremism and terrorist radicalization among youth requires multifaceted efforts by both state authorities and civil society organizations,” said Thomas Wuchte, the Head of the Action against Terrorism Unit in the OSCE Transnational Threats Department. “It is crucial to consult with young people in the design of preventive strategies and to encourage youth-led initiatives that can often be more credible and effective.”
The meeting was organized by the OSCE Transnational Threats Department and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights as part of their joint efforts to promote a multidimensional and multi-stakeholder approach to countering violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism.