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  • Author: Matthew Schwartz, Naz Yalbir
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, security actors in Kenya and the international community have increasingly viewed young people in Kenya's Muslim communities as vectors for radicalization to violent extremism. A number of large scale economic development assistance programs in the country, even as they promote the intense free market entrepreneurialism that continues to leave the vast majority of Kenyans behind, are also increasingly taking on preventing violent extremism objectives. Against the backdrop of heightened international and domestic concerns over the vulnerability of Kenyan youth to violent extremism, this policy brief focuses on the hardships and priorities of youth in Kenya through the voices of young people themselves. Drawing on a series of focus group discussions conducted by the Kenya Community Support Centre in September 2018, the paper explores the daily challenges confronting young people in Mombasa County as they struggle to make ends meet in the face of joblessness, wage theft, nepotism, and political corruption. While the serious threat posed by al-Shabaab cannot be ignored, the paper argues that the overriding drive to prevent violent extremism among Kenyan youth, especially in Muslim and Somali communities, is not only disproportionate but also counterproductive, threatening to overshadow the overwhelming need for economic justice, governance accountability, and reform.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Youth, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Saïbou Issa, Nadine Machikou
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: In August 2018, a regional strategy for the stabilization, recovery, and resilience of the Boko Haram-affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin was adopted, which recognizes the interrelated experiences of communities surrounding the Lake Chad Basin and the benefits of a common approach. The strategy sets out nine priority pillars for action to generate applicable policies and programs geared toward the short- and long-term stabilization and development of the region, including on the handling of individuals associated with Boko Haram. This policy brief assesses Cameroon’s strategies and policies for reintegrating associates of Boko Haram against the recently adopted Lake Chad Basin regional stabilization strategy, the realities experienced by Boko Haram-affected communities, and the experiences of individuals detained on account of their associations. For comparative purposes, references to the experience of Niger are included. Co-authored by academic experts, the brief offers a set of recommendations promoting a cohesive approach, calling for government action, and recognizing the role of communities at the forefront of reintegration efforts. // En août 2018, une stratégie régionale a été adoptée pour la stabilisation, le rétablissement et la résilience des zones du bassin du lac Tchad touchées par Boko Haram. Elle reconnaît les expériences interdépendantes des communautés riveraines du bassin du lac Tchad et les avantages d'une approche commune. La stratégie repose sur neuf piliers prioritaires et vise à élaborer des politiques et des programmes pertinents pour garantir, à court et à moyen terme, la stabilisation et le dével­oppement de la région du bassin du lac Tchad, y compris la gestion et la prise en charge des ex-associées de Boko Haram. La présente note politique évalue les stratégies et les politiques du Cameroun visant à réintégrer les ex-associés de Boko Haram par rapport à la stratégie régionale de stabilisation du bassin du lac Tchad récemment adoptée, les réalités vécues par les communautés touchées par Boko Haram, et celles des personnes détenues en raison de leurs associations. Des références à l'expérience du Niger sont présentées aux fins de comparaison. Rédigé en collaboration avec des universitaires, le document propose une série de recommandations favorisant une approche cohérente, engageant le gouvernement à agir et reconnaissant le rôle des communautés au premier plan des efforts de réinsertion.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Violent Extremism, Radicalization, Transitional Justice, Rule of Law, Criminal Justice
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon, Central Africa
  • Author: Christina Nemr, Sara Savage
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: Structural factors that can fuel support for violent extremism, like corrupt governance and inequality, are often intertwined with individual-level vulnerability factors, such as a search for identity or a need for quick answers to issues of injustice. Under these circumstances, individuals can be drawn to black-and-white answers that seem to offer simplicity, clarity, and certainty. Unfortunately, a hallmark of violent extremist ideologies is this binary thinking, stripped of complexity and with an identifiable in-group/out-group dynamic that offers a sense of community and belonging to help people make sense of the world. As policymakers and practitioners work to address the larger structural factors fueling violent extremism, psychological interventions may help address the binary construct of thinking that can make violent extremist ideologies sound appealing at the individual level. This policy brief explore the concept of integrative complexity - an empirical, peer-reviewed, and cross-culturally validated measure of the complexity of thinking - and the ways it can be applied in contexts of violent extremism and other instances of intergroup conflict.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Inequality, Psychology, Social Justice, Trauma
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Kenya, Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Sweden, Scotland, Bosnia and Herzegovina