A regional workshop on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, jointly organised by the Lebanese National PVE Coordinator and the European Union was held in Beirut on January 17 and 18.
EU Ambassador Christina Lassen opened the workshop on Wednesday, in the presence of MP Bahia Hariri, representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, National PVE Coordinator Mrs. Rubina Abu Zeinab, and the EU’s Counter Terrorism Coordinator Mr. Gilles de Kerchove. Ambassador Lassen reiterated the EU’s commitment to “approaches that go beyond law enforcement, military or security measures to address development, good governance, human rights and humanitarian concerns.”
The workshop tackled the topics of radicalisation in prison and online radicalisation. In his speech, Mr. de Kerchove conveyed the difficulty of identifying radicalised inmates at an early stage, a practice that used to be simpler years ago. He also stressed on the importance of rehabilitating prisoners and reintegrating them in society. In this context, the EU Delegation to Lebanon just launched a three-year program targeting violent extremists in Lebanese prisons, with a special focus on the rehabilitation of young adult prisoners. This initiative is based on the belief that an effective criminal justice system that fully respects human rights can significantly deter and prevent terrorist acts.
The workshop also addressed the considerable reach and impact terrorist groups have online. Benefiting from a high internet penetration and social media usage across the Middle East and North Africa, and using sophisticated means of communication, terrorist groups were able to create a momentum that will last longer than their military presence. However, a joint effort by the international community, tech companies, local governments and civil society could counter this narrative by providing a peaceful and credible alternative to this violent discourse.
The two-day workshop brought together government representatives, experts and civil society groups from the EU and the Middle East and North Africa.
Source: National News Agency