“Where Shared Society Starts, Violent Extremism Stops”

Within this framework, former PM of the Netherlands, Wim Kok, met with Tunisia’s Minister of Justice and Minister of Civil Society, as well as with other high level policy makers and civil society representatives during his visit to the country. At these meetings, he promoted the Club de Madrid work on human rights, structured dialogue, democracy and good governance, and PVE.

Mr. Lagumdzija, former PM of Bosnia and Herzegovina, participated in a forum in Barcelona titled “Towards a New Paradigm to Prevent Violent Extremism”, which offered civil society groups from across the Euro-Mediterranean region an opportunity to design an Action Plan to prevent all forms of violent extremism.

Lagumdzija, who is also the founder of the Shared Societies and Values Sarajevo Foundation, was responsible for making the keynote address. He explained that the current political approach, based on security measures, is not effective to end terrorism and, in fact, has had a negative impact on global peace and human rights. According to him, military means can be counterproductive and therefore should be used along with prevention strategies. He also reinforced the idea that political leaders and policy makers should work together with civil society organizations to create resilient communities. “Where Shared Society Starts, Violent Extremism Stops”, said Lagumdzija. The Prime Minister also participated in a panel about Institutional Initiatives to promote #PVE.

In Tunisia, PM Kok was part of a discussions that addressed democractic challenges in the region from the perspectives of human rights and PVE in order to promote regional cooperation based on the “civil society alternative report on the implementation of the international convention on civil and political rights”, a paper prepared by the Tunisian Human Rights League, Association des Femmes Tunisiennes pour la Recherche sur le Développement, Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates, Organisation Contre la Torture en Tunisie (OCTT), Free sight Association, Coalition Tunisienne Contre la Peine de Mort, Syndicat National des Journalistes Tunisiens, Union des Diplomes Chomeurs, and Maghreb Coordination of Human Rights Organizations.

Both PM Lagumdzija and PM Kok called for long-term policies and strong governance to be able to face these new challenges. The need to adapt to new realities was expressed already in October 2015, when the Club de Madrid organized a policy dialogue on “Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” to mobilize policy makers, opinion formers, civil society and grassroots organizations around the urgent need for a positive counter narrative to prevent and counter radicalization. Now CdM is working on a new initiative focusing on the area of prevention radicalization and violent extremism called “Leaders Telling a Different Story”, which aims at improving national and regional responses to violent extremism threats by developing effective alternative and positive narratives against violent extremism.