The field of radicalisation prevention is laden with difficulties and uncertainties for the professionals involved. There is no absolute path to radicalisation as individuals are as complex as they are unique. Any approach must adapt to particular paths or vulnerabilities.
The differences in prison and probation contexts, and the multitude of professional roles involved in the process, make it hard to follow and to evaluate results as far as P/CVE efforts are concerned.
Despite the available tools, risk management and assessment of the effectiveness of one practice over others are difficulties faced every day, not only throughout the described range of different professionals, but across borders, with very distinct approaches. The training and resources available to this key-personnel is unequivocally linked to the success of radicalisation prevention initiatives.
This need is in the origin of the European Learning Hub on Radicalisation. Within the scope of project HOPE, focused on the Balkans, it’s a growing network that supports continuous training, sharing of information and experience on the topic of P/CVE.
Making the most out of the network
Project HOPE – Holistic Radicalisation Prevention Initiative held its 2nd Transnational Thematic Workshop on the 9th of December 2021, in the scope of EEA and Norway Grants Regional Funds Week.
The second of the eight Transnational Thematic Workshops planned in the project’s life focused on “A multi-agency approach to P/CVE in the Balkans, Southern and Eastern Europe: The penitentiary system’s centrality and needs”. The goal of this format is gathering these professionals to reflect, and discuss about country specific peculiarities, programmes, best practices and strategies.
This closed event targeted at P/CVE professionals had the presence of 49 participants from 18 countries to discuss the theme: “A multi-agency approach to P/CVE in the Balkans, Southern and Eastern Europe: The penitentiary system’s centrality and needs”.
After the welcome and event overview by moderator Ljiljana Palibrk from Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Vlado Azinović from the University of Exeter and University of Sarajevo had a presentation focused on understanding the phenomenon of returning foreign terrorist fighters and its impacts on the criminal justice systems of Western Balkan countries.
The second speaker, Donche Boshkovski from the Council of Europe, explored the results of the Council of Europe’s work regarding P/CVE In the Western Balkans and spoke on the current gaps and needs regarding P/CVE in the Western Balkans region, and necessary next steps.
Organised by Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia in cooperation with IPS_Innovative Prison Systems and Agenfor International, in this workshop were also represented: the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Virtually near you
HOPE (Holistic Radicalisation Prevention Initiative) project’s presence within “Regional Funds Week” was an excellent tool to increase the visibility and strengthen this international network.
In this event’s Virtual Hall, that emulates a real life conference, visitants could enter the space for the Regional Cooperation Fund and visit HOPE’s digital booth. The visitants could get an overview of the project from the presentation video, learn more about it in the image gallery or through its downloadable documentation.
A project with a focus on inclusivity
HOPE’s final goal is a society where all its members feel part of a diverse whole and do not feel the need to turn to radical views or violent behaviours. In this framework the project contributed to a inclusiveness and cooperation round table on the first day of “Regional Funds Week”, alongside six other impactful projects.
Represented by IPS’s CEO Pedro das Neves, together with Ljiljana Palibrk, Project Manager of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, HOPE’s intervention had an important contribution on the role of international cooperation to craft holistic and systemic solutions. This concept is at the core of the project design and is its mission to unite partners across its geographical scope in a united learning hub.
The advantage of inter-project cooperation to accomplish gradual systemic changes was highlighted by the moderator Katarzyna Zabratańska, Manager for Equality and Inclusive Culture at Żabka Polska. Her conclusion let the important reminder that the efficient and respectful path for inclusiveness and equality means working “with” instead of “for” the communities.
The HOPE Initiative is led by IPS_Innovative Prison Systems (Portugal) in partnership with the University College of Norwegian Correctional Service (Norway), Agenfor International Foundation (Italy), the Euro-Arab Foundation for Advanced Studies (Spain), the Bulgarian Association for Policy Evaluation, the Bulgarian General Directorate “Execution of Sentences”, the Bucharest-Jilava Penitentiary (Romania), the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (Serbia) and the Slovenian Probation Administration (Ministry of Justice).