From 23 to 25 April the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship and the Transnational Threats Department/Action against Terrorism Unit held a regional workshop on youth and the prevention of violent extremism (PVE).
The event brought together 12 young people from across the Western Balkan region, as well as from Croatia and Slovenia, in order to examine their roles in PVE and devise practicable ways forward. Among other measures, participants discussed ways to use social media and design campaigns that could help them to effectively respond to the identified drivers and manifestations of violent extremism in their respective countries. Delivering the opening remarks, the OSCE Head of Mission recognized the need to empower youth in rejecting the messaging of violent extremist groups and in promoting tolerance and mutual understanding. Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on the Fight against Radicalization, Professor Peter Neumann highlighted the importance of involving civil society in defending democratic values and preserving peace in the Western Balkans. The event was also attended by two Special Representatives of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Youth and Security.
The recommendations resulting from the workshop included increasing regional co-operation, developing formal and non-formal education programmes, encouraging civic engagement among young people, establishing and strengthening local-level preventative networks, strengthening the role of religious communities in PVE and utilizing existing good practices in rehabilitating and reintegrating former violent extremists. They will be presented to all the participating States and the OSCE Partners for Co-operation at the OSCE-wide Counter-Terrorism Conference on 23 and 24 May.