Violent extremism and terrorism are, fundamentally, repudiations of the democratic values of tolerance, respect, inclusion, and diversity that underpin the work of the OSCE. Although the 57 participating States of the OSCE experience different types and levels of threats associated with transnational terrorism, all have confirmed their commitment to work together to tackle violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism (VERLT).

States within the OSCE area continue to face the multifaceted challenges associated with preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism (P/CVERLT). These include addressing the factors that lead to violent extremism; detecting and preventing homegrown attacks; managing the return of “foreign terrorist fighters” (“FTFs”) and family members from conflict zones; and facilitating the peaceful re-entry into society of terrorist and violent extremist offenders. Addressing different aspects of these challenges has been a priority for recent OSCE Chairs-in-Office (CiOs), including Switzerland, Serbia, Germany, Austria, Italy, and most recently Slovakia.

During the March 2019 OSCE Counter-terrorism Conference in Slovakia, participants stressed the importance of multiactor, multisector, and multilevel collaboration within each country to tackle VERLT. They stressed the importance of rehabilitating and reintegrating back into society former terrorism offenders and returning “FTFs” and family members, noting that “individuals are often returning back into the same environments which enabled their radicalization to terrorism in the first place. It is imperative that we find the right mix of responses to protect society and to help those willing to redeem themselves.”

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