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The Commonwealth Cadre of Experts on Countering Violent Extremism

Commonwealth experts on Countering Violent Extremism

Commonwealth experts stand united against violent extremism

21 June 2019

Experts from 16 countries responsible for guiding the Commonwealth’s response against violent extremism have praised the ongoing efforts while making the case for further assistance.

The Commonwealth Cadre of Experts on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) met this week in Wilton Park, United Kingdom, to sketch an action plan in the lead-up to the 2020 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

An expert from Pakistan, Mossarat Qadeem, applauded the Commonwealth’s contributions to helping member countries counter different forms of extremism.

While calling for further action, she said: “The Commonwealth should help member countries update the school curriculum to ensure young people play proactive roles in communities to prevent extremism.

“Young people are not only the most vulnerable group to the influence of extremist ideology but they are also the key to preventing such ideologies.”

The cadre of experts was established in 2018 and endorsed by Commonwealth leaders during the 2018 London CHOGM. Participants brought to the meeting an impressive array of expertise and practical experience to encourage and support dialogue. By building on the rich diversity represented within the Commonwealth they collaborate to promote mutual respect and understanding across boundaries of culture, religion or other identity.

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland reiterated collective Commonwealth commitment to provide mutual support for the governments and people of all member countries in their efforts to counter violent extremism and hatred in all its forms.

She said: “Violent extremists seek to undermine the very foundations on which we build and work together.

“We must utilise every network we have and bring together our expertise to create a network of networks that can build societies which have at their core the strength and resilience to defeat the ideologies of extremism and hate.”

During their meeting, experts discussed opportunities which can boost efforts to counter violent extremism in the Commonwealth. Their recommendations for the Commonwealth to take forward include:

  • developing a framework to reintegrate returnees from situations of extremism;
  • designing deliberate policies to engage young people in the fight against extremism;
  • encouraging member countries to review and update curricula to ensure it is built upon the concepts of respect, tolerance and pluralism which are at the heart of Commonwealth values;
  • working with social media and technology companies to promote a code of conduct that prevents online extremism; and
  • recognising and supporting the efforts made by the Commonwealth citizens to use the internet for social change, including reporting hate-speech.

The Commonwealth’s head of CVE, Mark Albon, said: “The deliberations and recommendations of the Cadre of Experts would serve as a guide and a basis for the further development of strategies and programmes undertaken by the Commonwealth CVE Unit as it continues to develop and enable the capacity of Commonwealth member countries to effectively prevent and counter violent extremism in all its forms.”