2018 International Youth Conference on Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism and Terrorism

Moise

From 22-24 May 2018, upon instruction of ACSRT Director, Mr. Moise LECKIBY, Librarian/Documentalist , represented ACSRT at the “2018 International Youth Conference on Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism and Terrorism”.

Sponsored by the Royal Danish Embassy and organized by AMISSOM in partnership with UN Mission in Somalia, that conference gathered 55 participants from some Somali and Egyptian Youth Associations known for their commitment in the prevention and countering violent extremism.
The main objectives of the conference were to highlight the importance of young people as key actors in violent extremism prevention through projects that support social cohesion.

The conference had four panels and the responsibility and privilege were given to Mr. Moise LECKIBY to be part of the first and the fourth panels.
The first panel focused on “Regulatory frameworks, policies and approaches on Preventing and Countering of Violent Extremism”, the second on “The Youth, Peace and Security Agenda”, the third focused on “Understanding the Gender Dynamics of Youth Radicalization” and the last panel on “ Exchange of Best practices: Youth and Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism”.

As first speaker in the first panel, Mr. Moise LECKIBY talked about the Continental Perspectives on CVE and his second intervention in the fourth panel was about the Best practices for preventing and countering violent extremism.

All the participants agreed with the fact that pull factors of violent extremism are complex and multifaceted. Taking the example of Somalia, one of the youngest countries in the world, eight out of ten Somalis are younger than 35 years old but avenues for youth to obtain education and gainful employment opportunities are limited and opportunities to engage politically, economically or socially remain weak or non-existent. The space and opportunities are ever further restricted for girls and young women. Exclusion has created frustration and demoralization among youth forcing many to embark on an often dangerous journey across borders searching for better lives. Those who stay are often vulnerable to crime, drugs, radicalism, piracy and armed groups. Group like Al-Shabaab has the potential to strengthen credibility as provider of social services.

With regard to those factors, Somali youth are still seen as potential threats or as burdens as well as vulnerable or victims of violent extremism.
The reality however, is that the vast majority of young people do not and will not become affiliated with violent extremism-many are actively working for peace.

Young people represent an untapped and undervalue force for peace. The UN Security Council 2250(2015) on youth, recognized for the first time the positive role of young people in promoting durable peace, preventing violence, reconciling communities and resolving conflict.

Mr. Moise LECKIBY seized the opportunity of that forum to recall some AU perspectives on the prevention and countering of violent extremism.
Countering radicalization and violent extremism lies at the heart of the efforts to address conditions that are conducive to the spread of terrorism. It is a long‐term process that requires the development of sound national policies and programmes. Hence the need for Member States to adopt counter‐radicalization and de‐radicalization policies and programmes that include engaging and working with the media, civil society organizations, notably community leaders, religious authorities, women – who can play a crucial role at family and community level – and victims of terrorism, formal and informal educational institutions, as well as legislative reforms, prison rehabilitation programs and building national capacities, to ensure effective implementation and sustainability of related measures.

In order to counter radicalization and violent extremism and to reduce vulnerability to extremist ideology, it is also important to address issues such as poverty, deprivation and marginalization, which provide a breeding ground to terrorism. In this respect, particular attention needs to be paid to the education and employment of the youth. Equally important is the need to rehabilitate communities affected by terrorist acts and promote social cohesion, including preventing revenge killing and inter-communal violence, which perpetuate instability and exacerbate extremism.

Mr Moise LECKIBY recalled also the African Union position for its Member States about the need to address all conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, including prolonged unresolved conflicts, lack of rule of law and violations of human rights, discrimination, political exclusion, socio-economic marginalization and poor governance. However, for AU, none of these conditions can excuse or justify acts of terrorism or violent extremism.
The importance of comprehensive counter-terrorism strategies empowering civil society organizations, including religious leaders and women, as well as vulnerable groups, and covering not only security and law enforcement, but also poverty eradication, job creation and development
About Best practices on the Prevention and countering of violent extremism, as illustrations, Mr. Moise LECKIBY talked about some encouraging initiatives taken in some African Union Member States in this regard and came to the conclusion that it’s up to each Member State to define its Strategy and National Plan for preventing and Countering violent extremism depending on its specificities and realities.

The second day was devoted to the field visit. Here was the opportunity for the participants to find out more about some Egyptian Youth Initiatives (local PCVE projects) and one of the common challenges faced is the lack of financing.

Before the closing of the conference, some recommendations have been made:
– Creation of a platform for young people to express their views and make contributions to issues that concern them and society at large.
– Creation of job opportunities in order to promote and giving youth the possibilities to empower themselves and the community.
– Creation of a technology innovation hub that empower young men and women by developing their business skills so that they can become entrepreneurs and establish their own businesses.
– Integration of gender dimension in the implementation of PCVE Strategy.
– Increase of social justice and inclusion, with equal chance for education and employment.

With regard to the importance of its mandate, some institutions like “Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peace building” based in Cairo, expressed their strong interest to work closely with ACSRT.