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Addressing Violent Extremism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

An interactive tabletop exercise, organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and financially supported by the Embassy of Netherlands in BiH, concluded on 10 March 2022 in Sarajevo. The exercise brought together a wide range of cross-sectoral, inter-governmental and civil society representatives from BiH with the aim to examine jointly the problem of violent extremism.

“Prevention and countering of violent extremism is a long and challenging process that requires a broad societal approach and the involvement of all levels of authority. This project leaves no place for politics, its essence is the care for BiH citizens and BiH society in general”, said Mina Noor, Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of Netherlands in BiH.

“BiH strategic and planning documents demonstrate continuity of commitment of the institutions BiH to prevention and the fight against terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism, in line with the international commitments of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a member state of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the Anti-Terrorism Coalition and a potential candidate for membership in the EU. The new strategy will recognize different types of violent extremism, including ideological, religious, ethno-nationalistic, far-right or far-left political extremism,” said Ivana Veselčić, Assistant BiH Minister of Security.

“I am pleased to note that Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed to countering violent extremism and radicalization in all its forms, and in the earliest of its manifestations,” said Dr. Susan Penksa, Head of Security Co-operation of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “Our Mission provides crucial support to strengthen BiH’s efforts; we bring to the table expertise in multiple sectors and our unique field presence. This also enables us to facilitate broad community-level involvement in the prevention of violent extremism. Through our whole of society, country-wide engagement, we have seen time and time again that locally based and owned measures are the key to ensuring strong results,” she added.

“Violent extremism and terrorism have no religion or ethnicity, nor do they depend on skin color. However, violent extremism does, to a large extent, depend on socio-economic conditions, environment, and other societal factors. In this particularly sensitive moment for BiH and the entire world, it is therefore crucial to understand the path of radicalization so that we can detect both people and processes that are radicalized to violence, and so to prevent radical extremism and terrorism in a timely manner. For all these reasons, it is of utmost importance that not only the security sector, but all sectors and the entire society are involved in prevention and countering violent extremism,” concluded Goran Čerkez, member of the Interagency working group of the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for development and implementation of the Action plan on prevention and fight against terrorism in FBiH.

The tabletop exercise was organized as part of the OSCE Mission’s efforts to facilitate the process of early identification and prevention of violent extremism in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Read more at OSCE

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