This paper examines the existing evidence base regarding violent extremism and radicalization as push factors for migration and displacement, with a particular emphasis on displacement and migration from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, to Europe. It explores the extent to which there is evidence that migrants and migration from these regions could serve as a means to counter violent extremism in source countries.
There is a significant gap in the existing academic and policy literature regarding the relationship between violent extremism and migration, both in terms of violent extremism as a driver of displacement and migration, but also the role that migration and migrants play in either countering or exacerbating violent extremism in source countries. Given the paucity of the evidence base, case studies of Nigeria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, offer the opportunity to consider the inter- relationships in greater detail. Analysis of these examples highlight the extent to which European policymakers should avoid oversimplified conclusions about inter-relationships and causality, as there are pertinent distinctions even at the sub-national level. Classic programmes that seek to address violent extremism by improving levels of economic opportunity and development may serve to increase migration levels. However, each of these cases suggest that addressing the quality of governance, systemic or targeted marginalization, identity based persecution and the lack of socio- economic opportunities which offer long-term ‘social capital’ prospects may be root-cause commonalities that can address both phenomena simultaneously through targeted aid and development programming.
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