On 29 September 2017, a special session of the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) took place within the scope of the 2017 Austrian OSCE Chairmanship, concerning the fight against radicalisation and violent extremism. As part of this, OSCE Special Representative, Peter Neumann, presented his expert report on current developments in radicalisation and violent extremism in the OSCE region.
“The increasing threat to our internal security is a burning issue for a lot of people. In 2016, more than 1000 innocent people were killed in terrorist attacks in the OSCE region and we have experienced over 120 attacks in 2017 alone. This is why this year, I made a conscious decision to make the fight against radicalisation, extremism and terrorism a central issue of our OSCE chairmanship”,
said Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.
In order to give new momentum to dealing with this phenomenon in the OSCE, Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz appointed renowned professor, Peter Neumann, to compile a report on ideas, recommendations and good practical value in the OSCE area.
To achieve this, in the course of the year Mr. Neumann travelled to 15 OSCE member countries, to talk to government and civilian representatives and gather information on the different dynamics in the OSCE region.
In addition, under the Austrian OSCE chairmanship, youth workshops took place in Vienna, Chisinau, Sarajevo and Almaty on the subject of preventing the radicalisation of young people.
The OSCE is already very active and well-positioned when it comes to the fight against radicalisation and terrorism. Nevertheless, according to Peter Neumann a few additional measures could help achieve even more in the fight against the causes of terrorism and in preventative measures, particularly in the western Balkans and Central Asia.
Peter Neumann specifically states three measures in his report, which the OSCE is particularly suitable to implement:
· Combatting causes of terrorism and building up the local capacities for measures to prevent radicalisation in young people in particular in the western Balkans and Central Asia.
· The systematic exchange of information on successful projects for fighting radicalisation across all OSCE countries, such as the “Active Change Foundation” in London and the Austrian association, “DERAD”. DERAD offers those who are willing, the chance to detach themselves from the propensity to violence and radical ideology and facilitates integration back into society.
“The focus on youth work is of particular importance to me. We have to keep those young people who are at risk of going downhill on “our side”, with the help of a healthy social network”,
emphasised Federal Minister Kurz.
· The development of the anti-terrorism unit in the OSCE Secretariat as an interface for the exchange of information in the area of combatting radicalisation.
Professor Neumann’s report clearly points out the OSCE’s added value as well as its great potential in regards to the fight against these phenomena. Therefore, an important conclusion to be drawn is that the OSCE should address new issues, such as the possible connections between radicalisation, migration and integration, even faster and more pro-actively,
stressed Federal Minister Kurz.