Plan for preventing violent extremism


Violent extremism is a diverse phenomenon, which cannot be clearly defined, yet presents a clear threat to peace and stability across the globe. In recent years, the world has seen a rise in violent extremist behavior, particularly in unstable regions, like the war-zones in the Middle East. However, proponents of violent extremism have not limited their actions to war-stricken areas, and present a terrorist threat in seemingly stable countries, such as those in Europe and North America. Faced with the current rise of new extremist groups which employ constantly evolving methods and tactics for advancing their agenda, it has become clear that action against violent extremism cannot be based solely on military intervention. The dramatic rise in the number of refugees as a result of extremist action is another indicator of the importance of the issue for all Member States, as it also presents an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. It has therefore become apparent that comprehensive, well-planned action will be needed to tackle this complex issue.


Agents of violent extremism

Although violent extremism cannot be attributed to a specific culture, religion or nation, prominence was given to extremist organizations that have recently been successful in disrupting peace and stability of the world. Their actions involve the use of violent tactics such as bombing and assassination for achieving perceived Islamic goals. The most dangerous groups that carry out such acts are terrorist groups Al-Qaeda, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Boko Haram. In order to reach their goals, these organizations have used various strategies to further widen their influence, intimidate opponents and others of different beliefs and spread panic and fear around the world by carrying out suicide bombings, mass abductions, attacks against soft targets and broadcasting acts of inhumanity. They are also known for using social media for propaganda campaigns, demonstration of their power and emphasizing the lack of competence of countering bodies. Although every act of violence and inhumanity rightfully causes international outrage, events like the September 11th attacks, Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping and ISIL’s attacks such as those in Paris, Belgium and Egypt and the proclamation of ISIL’s free territory in the Middle East have left the international community appalled and have caused the spread of fear and panic.

 Causes, growth and consequences of violent extremism

Causes of violent extremism are diverse, as well as numerous. One notable factor is economic hardship, as a contributor to the rise of violent extremism, alongside many social and psychological factors. As a rule, people who resort to violent extremism harbor a sense of injustice and anger, which is further bolstered by the perceived stigma towards marginalized communities in the western world. This sense of injustice is exploited by radicalizes, as a powerful ideological tool, through which they are able to recruit a significant amount of those who see themselves as economically or socially disenfranchised. Terrorism is a clear consequences of these mass recruitment into violent extremist organizations, as the two are inseparable. Furthermore, extremist groups aim to provoke strong reactions from foreign countries whose potential repressive responses would add to the justification for their violence and galvanize recruitment.


Action against violent extremism

Up until now, the UN and Member States have only truly been involved in security-based anti-terrorism actions. While this is necessary, it is not enough. An effective approach must be far broader, stressing prevention as much as, if not more than treating consequences.
Although this is a global effort, which will need the support of the UN as a whole, every Member State must adapt on its own, developing its own plans of action, which should encompass as many spheres of political, economic and cultural life as possible. Since violent extremist organizations often exploit simmering ethnic or religious conflicts to recruit members of oppressed or discriminated groups, all Member states should strive to strengthen equality within their society, as well as enlist the help of religious leaders to enable dialogue within, and between religions and prevent or defuse conflict.
Fostering a societies where individuals can rise on their own merits, not hindered by religious or ethnic discrimination, where quality education is available to all who need it, where human rights are held sacrosanct, and those who oppose injustice and poverty are supported  and protected from harm, is perhaps the best way to curtail this daunting threat. Movements of young people, whether seeking to better their own lives or to counter violent extremism should also be generously supported.
On a more immediate note, stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to areas where they can do harm must be a priority. To this end, strengthening regional cooperation will be a crucial and immediate step the struggle


  • Can the UN provide a strong, nuanced response to the issue of violent extremism?


  • What can be done on a global level to insure the preservation of human rights in critical regions?


  • How can Member States halt further development of violent extremism?







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