The recent terrorist attacks, in particular those in Paris, Istanbul, Brussels, Nice and Munich, have provoked intense debates on the issue of the infiltration of terrorists from Daesh into recent arrivals of refugees and migrants. Several media have reported that migrant smugglers claimed to have been contacted by representatives of Daesh. The misuse by individual terrorists of the mass arrivals of refugees and migrants to facilitate their own entry into Western Europe with criminal intent represents several risks, in particular radicalisation of refugees through contact with these extremist elements, further stigmatisation of all migrants and an increasing, if disproportionate, fear and mistrust in destination countries.
The overwhelming majority of refugees arriving in Europe are fleeing violence and extremism in their native countries and come to Europe with the hope of a peaceful and secure life. Unfortunately, some of them may be radicalised in refugee camps on their way. Others can be subject to radicalisation when they fail to integrate into European society and suffer different forms of violence beginning on their arrival, as was described in Mr Rigoni’s recent report on violence against migrants (Doc. 14066).
European countries should develop a joint approach to prevent the infiltration of recently arrived refugees and migrants and the risk of their radicalisation. Reception systems must be more efficient in alerting police forces across Europe to the presence of suspected terrorists, thereby ensuring the protection of refugees against terrorist groups whilst reassuring the populations in the destination countries.
The “NoHateNoFear” campaign launched by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly to combat terrorism is a good example of a common European response to the attempts to divide people and promote fear and hatred. Elimination of radical discourse and fighting segregation and discrimination against migrants, close co-operation with migrant communities and providing more education and employment opportunities should be included in measures aimed at prevention of radicalisation which could be advocated by the Assembly.