International experts on the prevention of violent radicalisation convene in Helsinki
The Conference on Preventing Violent Radicalisation will bring together a wide range of international experts at Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, on 17–18 September 2019. They will discuss the prevention of violent radicalisation from the viewpoint of research, practical experiences and the work of public authorities.
The aim of the conference is to hear and share experiences of the work carried out so far and to examine how to further increase its effectiveness.
Invitations have gone out to stakeholders from all EU Member States, including CSO representatives, experts, researchers and public authorities. Representatives from the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council, the European Strategic Communication Network (ESCN) and the Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN) will also participate.
Risk of violent radicalisation rising and new threats emerging
Violent radicalisation and extremism refer to using violence, threatening with it or encouraging or justifying it on the basis of one’s own view of the world, or on ideological grounds. Violent radicalisation may lead to individuals joining violent extremist groups or engaging in such action. At its most extreme, violent radicalisation can result in terrorist acts.
In Finland, the risk of violent radicalisation and extremism is still small in comparison with many other countries. However, the threat has been on the increase in recent years.
"The danger of violent radicalisation has grown, as the field has undergone changes. New threats have emerged alongside the existing ones. Violent right-wing extremism has gained in strength, and terrorist propaganda and punishable hate speech are spreading online. Preventive measures must constantly be enhanced to anticipate such new threats. This conference will take stock of the work done so far, looking at it from different angles, to have an idea of where we are now in the prevention of violent radicalisation and how we could further intensify our efforts," says Head of Development Tarja Mankkinen from the Ministry of the Interior.
A priority for Finland’s Presidency
Finland will promote a dialogue between violent radicalisation and combating terrorism in an effort to support the fight against terrorism through preventive work. The best way to counter terrorism is through preventive efforts; prevention is always more effective than trying to cure the consequences. The repercussions of a terrorist attack always exceed the individual deed: they have a wide-ranging impact on the entire society – on public safety and people’s sense of security.
The European Commission supports the efforts to prevent violent radicalisation. It has set up a group of experts focusing on prevention, and financial support for this work has also increased considerably.
Cooperation between EU countries systematically enhanced
Due to the cross-border nature of violent radicalisation and extremism, preventive work takes place both locally, nationally and internationally. Through international cooperation, we can identify new, emergent threats, exchange information on the experiences and best practices of other countries and have an exchange of views on preventive measures.
"This conference will consider how the different actors – the EU, public authorities, researchers, religious communities and CSOs – can work together, learning and getting support from each other," Mankkinen says.
Tarja Mankkinen, Head of Development, tel. +358 295 488 370, [email protected]