Raising international awareness of Holistic Radicalisation Prevention José Santos May 25, 2022

Raising international awareness of Holistic Radicalisation Prevention

Promoting a holistic model of radicalisation prevention and a European expert network next to high-level stakeholders.

Cooperation is a key concept in successfully addressing the radicalisation and violent extremism threat. A holistic approach to the problem involves cooperation between all institutional and community agents working with those at risk of radicalisation or who have already been radicalised.

Knowledge sharing and the wide-ranging implementation of standardised and evidence-based strategies also allow for a solid and enhanced progression towards better results in radicalisation prevention.

While the Balkan, Southern, and Eastern European countries are the geographical focus of the HOPE project for their particular exposure to these threats, extremism is a global problem. It can sprout from any radical ideology or belief and take many forms.

That’s why recently, the HOPE project – Holistic Radicalisation Prevention Initiative was invited to take the stage to present its goals and ongoing work at two major international events.

HOPE's approach featured at UNODC Forum on violent extremism prevention in prisons

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organised a forum in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) focusing on “The Role of Civil Society Organizations in rehabilitation and social reintegration of violent extremist prisoners”.

This high-level event sought to share international best practices and provide a better understanding of the ‘Multi-Agency Cooperation Approach’ to P/CVE in prison contexts.

In the audience were representatives of relevant government agencies, training institutions, academia, and civil society organisations. Among the speakers were international experts from Belgium, Germany, Japan, Norway, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Running on May 24th and 25th, 2022, this event was part of the global EU-UN (UNODC-UNCCT-UNCTED) initiative on “Supporting the Management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalisation to Violence in Prisons” in Kazakhstan.

IPS’ Chief Research Officer and coordinator of the Radicalisation, Violent Extremism and Violent Crime portfolio, Pedro Liberado, took on this challenge and presented the project’s approach. He highlighted that the European initiative is committed to enhancing cooperation between governmental bodies and civil society organisations to ensure the prison-exit continuum and successful rehabilitation of violent extremist prisoners (VEPs).

HOPE represented in a gathering of best practices and staff training in the Western Balkans

Also in May, the HOPE project had the opportunity to discuss the current state-of-play of P/CVE initiatives in the Western Balkans at a Council of Europe’s (CoE) Regional Conference in Budva, Montenegro.

Represented by Pedro Liberado, the initiative was introduced to over fifty participants, including experts and researchers, Council of Europe representatives, and prominent practitioners from prison and probation settings of the Western Balkans.

In the audience were representatives of relevant government agencies, training institutions, academia, and civil society organisations. Among the speakers were international experts from Belgium, Germany, Japan, Norway, the Netherlands, and the UK.

The conference entitled "Towards improved practices in preventing radicalisation and countering violent extremism in prison and staff training in the Western Balkans" was organised on May 17th and 18th, 2022 as part of the CoE’s Regional Action on “Enhancing penitentiaries capacities in addressing radicalisation in prisons in Western Balkans”.

Other important themes with a focus on the Western Balkans reality were on the table at this event. The discussion broached the topics of practitioners’ training needs, Foreign Terrorist Fighters and their families, challenges in the identification of radicalisation, and risk and needs assessment, among others.

HOPE will continue seeking to engage relevant stakeholders in preventing and countering violent extremism through a holistic lens. This European initiative is developing a network for continuous training and knowledge sharing in the Balkan, Southern, and Eastern European countries. The goal is to increase the knowledge base and cooperation between stakeholders to develop and implement successful P/CVE practices.

One way to get involved is by joining HOPE’s Radicalisation Network. In this online hub, members can stay abreast of all project initiatives, access hundreds of relevant resources, and network with dozens of P/CVE experts from over 40 organisations worldwide. 

Know more about this project


Holistic Radicalisation Prevention Initiative (Balkan countries)

HOPE is led by IPS_Innovative Prison Systems (Portugal) in partnership with organisations from several countries, namely the University College of Norwegian Correctional Service (Norway), Agenfor International Foundation (Italy), the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies (Spain), the Bulgarian Association for Policy Evaluation (Bulgaria), the Bulgarian General Directorate “Execution of Sentences” (Bulgaria), the Bucharest-Jilava Penitentiary (Romania), the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia (Serbia) and the Slovenian Probation Administration (Slovenia).

For more information about the HOPE project, please visit: www.hope-radproject.org

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