Early identification and prevention of violent extremism, in focus of the OSCE Mission to BiH-supported tabletop exercise

SARAJEVO, 3 March 2016 – The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in co-operation with the BiH Ministry of Security and supported by the United States Government, concluded a two-day tabletop exercise at Jahorina mountain today, focusing on practical views and ideas in addressing the challenges of violent extremism.

The exercise gathered more than 70 participants -- representatives of government, judiciary, law enforcement agencies, civil society, media, education sector, health sector, religious institutions, and local communities -- who had the opportunity to, through the simulation of different scenarios, recognize the importance of early identification and prevention of violent extremism.

“Violent extremism is not a new phenomenon in the world, but it is constantly evolving,” said Ambassador Jonathan Moore, Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We must then be open to all possible approaches at all levels of government and society. We hope this exercise will help in establishing new strategies and practices in bridging the gap between theories and results.”

Richard Prosen, Foreign Affairs Officer of the U.S. Department of State, said: “Countering violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighters’ threats in a sustainable way remains a difficult and urgent challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Together, we will achieve success if we stand united and act with impact to confront this generational challenge.”

Concepts discussed at this exercise will contribute to the definition of further priorities of all stakeholders in supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina’s efforts to address the challenges.

Vjekoslav Vuković, BiH Assistant Minister of Security, noted how the country has developed a strategy which aims to combat all forms of violent extremism and terrorism, while at the same time respecting core values of democracy, rule of law and human rights and freedoms. “Exercises like this one show that co-ordination between all levels of government, law enforcement agencies, local communities, representatives of social society and religious institutions can achieve results in combating violent extremism,” he said.

The tabletop exercise is organized as part of the OSCE Mission’s effort to help enhance dialogue in opposing violent extremism in BiH. This project contributes to the OSCE’s wider campaign #UnitedCVE - “United in Countering Violent Extremism”, which highlights the Organization’s comprehensive approach to preventing violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism.