The OSCE’s efforts to counter violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism: A comprehensive approach addressing root causes?
Violent extremism and terrorism have been high on the (international) political agenda for decades, especially gaining traction after the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Many local, national and international actors are involved in the struggle against individuals or groups that commit crimes that
‘may seriously damage a country or an international organisation […] committed with the aim of: seriously intimidating a population; or unduly compelling a Government or international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act; or seriously destabilising or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organisation.’
In general, these actors try to decrease the likelihood of violent radicalisation resulting in terrorism by addressing the factors which are conducive to this process. Aware of the complex transnational nature of the threat there is a strong emphasis on cooperation between different actors, both within and across states. Moreover, as terrorism is caused by a multitude of factors, it is common wisdom that any approach to counter terrorism requires a wide or comprehensive approach.
This paper aims to shed light on the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (osce) to address violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism (verlt). It provides an overview of the growing attention to the phenomenon within the osce and the ways in which its activities and approaches have been developed. The paper focuses on the osce’s comprehensiveness in dealing with the causal factors of terrorism. In order to be able to investigate the extent of the Organisation’s self-claimed comprehensive approach to preventing and combating terrorism, as a yardstick we use the framework of causes of terrorism provided by Tore Bjørgo et al. in the much praised publication ‘Root Causes of Terrorism. Myths, reality and ways forward’.
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