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Radicalisation of migrants and diaspora communities in Europe

Resolution 2238 (2018)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 10 October 2018 (32nd Sitting) (see Doc. 14625, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, rapporteur: Ms Sahiba Gafarova). Text adopted by the Assembly on 10 October 2018 (32nd Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly strongly condemns the recent terrorist attacks in Europe which have provoked intense debate on the infiltration of terrorists among refugees and migrants. While it is evident that the overwhelming majority of refugees arriving in Europe are fleeing violence and extremism in their countries of origin and are hoping for a peaceful and secure life, there is a real danger of radicalisation on the way, including in refugee camps and detention centres. Other migrants may be victims of radicalisation when they are marginalised or fail to integrate into their new society and environment, or when they suffer different forms of discrimination and violence on arrival.
2. The Assembly recalls its resolutions calling for action against radicalisation and violent extremism in Europe, including Resolution 2103 (2016) on preventing the radicalisation of children and young people by fighting the root causes and Resolution 2221 (2018) on counter-narratives to terrorism. It stresses that the absence of comprehensive migration policies significantly increases the likelihood of the spreading of violent extremism and radicalisation among migrants. However, it is convinced that migrants should not be perceived as increasing the risk of terrorism, as has been asserted by media and politicians in many countries.
3. The Assembly underlines that preventing and combating radicalisation requires close and co-ordinated collaboration between all relevant stakeholders at all levels of governance (local, regional and national), including with civil society.
4. The Assembly encourages member States to promote policies which underline the benefits of diversity and develop, among young people, a positive self-perception of individual identity free of any inferiority complexes so as to prevent alienation, the lack of a sense of belonging, marginalisation and isolation of communities from prevailing, and providing a fertile breeding ground for radicalisation.
5. The Assembly is concerned about the recent, rapidly spreading phenomenon of radicalisation via the internet and social networks. It believes that a comprehensive approach reaching all users of the internet should be developed, involving all stakeholders, including the internet industry and service providers, State authorities and civil society.
6. The Assembly is convinced that the media have an important role to play in preventing radicalisation. Regrettably, certain media inspired by populist politicians reinforce the association of Islam with terrorism. Such negative narratives must be avoided and strongly condemned, and the media must report credibly on the consequences of radicalisation, raising awareness of the causes of violent radicalisation, as well as ways to prevent it. The media must also give visibility to the positive aspects and benefits of diversity, not only to possible threats.
7. The Assembly stresses the vital role women and women’s organisations play in preventing radicalisation in families, but also in communities. They should be encouraged to be more involved in policy making, educational activities and preventive community work.
8. Diaspora communities are essential for efficient counter-terrorism action, as they are best placed to identify young people at risk of joining extremist organisations and to prevent them from doing so, while avoiding incomprehension and mistrust at the local level. They have a unique potential for promoting personal relationships and non-contentious dialogue between people of different origins.
9. The Assembly welcomes the implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan on the Fight against Violent Extremism and Radicalisation Leading to Terrorism (2015-2017) and the adoption of a new Counter-Terrorism Strategy 2018-2022, which includes activities on fighting violent extremism and radicalisation. It encourages member States to support its implementation.
10. The Parliamentary Assembly therefore calls on Council of Europe member and observer States and States whose parliaments enjoy observer or partner for democracy status with the Parliamentary Assembly to:
10.1 as regards policy planning:
10.1.1 promote legislative measures aimed at the prevention of radicalisation and violent extremism;
10.1.2 co-ordinate preventive strategies and promote the exchange of information on good practices and experience in combating radicalisation;
10.1.3 instruct the relevant authorities to compile data and research the mechanisms leading to radicalisation;
10.1.4 develop medium- and long-term public policies to prevent radicalisation, in close co-operation with governments, municipalities, police and civil society, including through the participation of young people;
10.1.5 ensure that social and ethnic mixing is pursued in urban planning policies, as well as in social housing and access to education;
10.2 as regards preventive strategies:
10.2.1 support local authorities and municipalities in their crucial role in the prevention of radicalisation and violent extremism and encourage the recruitment and involvement of municipal employees and teachers with a migrant background;
10.2.2 promote co-operation between local police and all faith communities to build trust and co-operation in preventing radicalisation and violent extremism;
10.2.3 encourage partnerships between law-enforcement authorities and migrant communities in order to prevent persons at risk of joining extremist organisations from doing so;
10.2.4 promote counter-narratives to radicalisation devised by the leaders of religious communities, scientists and the media, addressing religious understanding and providing accurate information on Islam;
10.2.5 promote interfaith dialogue as a tool to combat radicalisation and violent extremism;
10.2.6 promote inclusive, comprehensive, context-specific and demand-oriented education and training programmes as efficient tools to prevent violent extremism;
10.3 as regards prevention of radicalisation in prisons:
10.3.1 ensure that prison staff receive special training on recognising early signs of radicalisation among prisoners and its prevention;
10.3.2 promote and make use of the Council of Europe Guidelines and Handbook for prison and probation services regarding radicalisation and violent extremism;
10.3.3 provide better access to prisons for approved religious representatives, so that prisoners may practise their religion on a regular basis without being forced to seek alternatives, which can lead to radicalisation;
10.3.4 promote a mentoring system in prisons for prisoners who may have adopted violent extremist views and who express the wish to “deradicalise”;
10.3.5 encourage the introduction in prisons of specific gender-sensitive rehabilitation and reintegration programmes;
10.4 as regards the prevention of radicalisation through education and social inclusion policies:
10.4.1 promote social inclusion programmes enabling migrants to preserve their multiple cultural identities and reduce their vulnerability to radicalisation;
10.4.2 develop comprehensive guidance for educators on the prevention of radicalisation of young people and encourage their disengagement;
10.4.3 promote teacher training on dealing with issues of radicalisation, hate speech and signs of violent extremism;
10.4.4 provide educational programmes promoting tolerance and understanding of different religions, philosophies of life, cultures and traditions;
10.4.5 create well-developed youth programmes, which are essential in preventing involvement in the radicalisation process at an early stage;
10.4.6 create a European mechanism for fostering the social protection of working migrants and their families;
10.4.7 encourage the involvement of migrants and diasporas in social and sport activities as an alternative to involvement in extremist organisations and give visibility to and involve sport role models with a migrant background;
10.5 as regards the prevention of online radicalisation:
10.5.1 ensure co-operation between the internet industry and service providers, State authorities and civil society in order to promote powerful and attractive narratives to counter hate speech and radicalisation online;
10.5.2 create special communication police units tasked with the detection and removal of illegal web content promoting radicalism and terrorism on the internet;
10.5.3 promote the introduction of measures enabling all internet users to block illegal online content and report it to the competent authorities;
10.5.4 develop youth awareness programmes on online hate speech and the risk of manipulation by radical organisations;
10.5.5 develop digital teaching and learning resources to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism, racism, hate speech and anti-Semitism, for use in lower- and upper-secondary education and teacher training;
10.5.6 encourage and support grassroots initiatives to promote self-regulation of the internet and combat online radicalisation;
10.5.7 organise training for religious representatives on the use of media to provide alternative narratives to hate speech and incitement to violence.
11. The Parliamentary Assembly invites the member States to sign and ratify, if they have not already done so, the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (CETS No. 196) and its additional protocol (CETS No. 217), as well as other relevant Council of Europe legal instruments.