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Countering violent extremism

The Commonwealth supports international efforts to counter violent extremism in all its forms.

Commonwealth Heads of Government have affirmed that violent extremism represents a serious threat to international peace and security, shared values and aspirations, social harmony and economic and social development.

In line with the mandate given by leaders at their Malta summit, a dedicated unit was established within the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2017 to support national strategies to counter violent extremism (CVE).

Our approach recognises that, as violent extremists are adept at exploiting their own cross-border networks to recruit and to use violence, those dedicated to preventing this phenomenon must be just as adept.

The Commonwealth advantage in countering extremism

The Commonwealth Secretariat is uniquely placed to assist member countries in sharing good practice and harnessing the role of governments and individuals to enhance the resilience of society to violent extremist messages.

Our programme work leverages decades of experience in supporting governments – for example in strengthening the rule of law, human rights and youth empowerment – while drawing on the shared values, cultural and regional diversity of the Commonwealth.

By using non-coercive approaches to address the drivers of violent extremism, the Commonwealth Secretariat seeks to reduce the vulnerabilities of at-risk communities.

This involves responding to mutually identified gaps in the capacity of member governments, mapping existing support mechanisms and resources, exchanging experiences and practices, and harnessing the ‘network of networks’ that is the Commonwealth.

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