Preventing the radicalisation of children and young people by fighting the root causes
Addendum to the report
| Doc. 14010 Add.
| 18 April 2016
- Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development
- Rapporteur :
- Ms Sevinj FATALIYEVA,
- Addendum approved by
the committee on 18 April 2016.
1 The consideration of the above
draft report at the moment of its adoption by the Committee on Social Affairs,
Health and Sustainable Development on 15 March 2016 in Paris showed
the need to make certain precisions to ensure that the committee
could endorse the text without reservations. The explanations below also
aim to motivate the amendments to the draft resolution that I will
submit myself to the committee at the beginning of the April part-session
with a view to tabling them on behalf of the committee.
taking place in various contexts
2 I am fully convinced that radicalisation
should not be associated with any specific country, group or religion.
Processes of extreme radicalisation, often based on violence-glorifying
ideology, have been observed across Europe over the past decade,
both in the context of different religious sectarian movements and
in the political sphere.
In recent years, some European countries have seen a resurgence
of far-right and extremist political movements. Closely linked to
this, xenophobia has been growing on the fringes of society in many
countries, not least in a context of economic crisis, high unemployment
rates and the fight over scarce public resources, as well as most
lately as a reaction to the arrival of great numbers of migrants
and refugees. Such political developments can be observed across
Europe from Norway to Greece and from Germany to Ukraine. Whilst the
terrorist attack perpetrated by Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011
is one of the most mediatised examples, Germany is systematically
observing more than 20 000 right-wing extremists, classifying almost
10 000 of them as potentially violent. In Greece, right-wing extremism
has attracted a small but dedicated following.Note
3 Focus of the
Already in 2014, such developments
were evaluated by European commissioner Cecilia Malmström as posing
the biggest threat to the European Union todayNote
; I am convinced that they also
need to be addressed at Council of Europe level. However, for my
report I chose a sharpened focus taking the most recent attacks perpetrated
in European and neighbouring countries by terrorist Islamist organisations
as a starting point. We cannot deny this violence committed by Islamist
terrorists who must not be associated with Islam as a religion and
the majority of the Muslim community wishing to live peacefully
in co-existence with members of other religious communities and
within the societies surrounding them. Also, I would like to reiterate
that the question of right-wing political extremism has already
been the object of Assembly Resolution
on counteraction to manifestations of neo-Nazism and
right-wing extremism and Resolution
on recognising and preventing neo-racism.
5 As expressed by some of my colleagues at the above-mentioned
Paris meeting, I am also convinced that social media and prisons
are key places where radicalisation processes take place and are
further fuelled, and that the media in general further contribute
to creating stereotypes which reinforce suspicion and hate between
different cultural and religious communities. I touched upon these
crucial issues both in the draft resolution and the explanatory
memorandum. However, examining these aspects in more detail would
have exceeded the scope of my report exploring the root causes.
The role of the media, and specific action to prevent the radicalisation
of young people in prisons, are certainly worth being covered by
further upcoming Assembly activities.
4 Social inclusion as one of
the key responses
6 I personally believe that the
social exclusion of children and young people is the main root cause
for their frustration and anger, which then make them receptive
to radical ideas – social exclusion therefore constitutes the central
“push factor” leading young people into radical movements of any
kind. For minors, radical ideology may constitute an opportunity
of revenge for their own personal suffering and of carrying the
“glorious” cause of the group that they have adopted as theirs,
thus providing them with the recognition and sense of belonging that
they do not get from the societies surrounding them.
Of course, the radicalisation of children and young people
would not be taking place without the “pull factors”. Next to tackling
the “home-made” root causes linked to the social position and role
of young people, we therefore also need to fight against violent
extremist groups of any kind, be they political, ideological or religious.
Once again, I would like to recall that some of these issues, i.e.
the “pull factors”, have already been addressed by the Assembly
through its most recent Recommendation
on foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.
When we speak of “tackling the root causes”, the social inclusion
of children and young people of foreign ethnic background, but also
of those coming from other disadvantaged social groups, is crucial
to prevent their radicalisation. Whilst I hope that this is already
well reflected in my memorandum, I am trying to reinforce this idea
in the draft resolution by proposing relevant amendments. Social
inclusion as the key solution against radicalisation processes was
also underlined at the most recent Council of Europe conference
on the Rights of the Child, which I attended on behalf of the Parliamentary
Assembly in my capacity as General Rapporteur on Children.Note