I will start by thanking Belgium, Indonesia, UNODC and the Group of Friends on Prevention of Violent Extremism for organising this Arria meeting on such an important subject.
Preventing and combating radicalisation in prisons and dealing with terrorist and violent extremist offenders after release is a priority on the agenda on the EU. The discussion is very timely. We are at a time when a number of terrorist/extremist offenders are being or close to being released across the EU.
In this regard, the EU has in June adopted good practices in addressing: (a) radicalisation in prisons; and (b) dealing with terrorist and violent extremist offenders after release. The focus is on having a multidisciplinary approach, taking into account the different dimensions of the process – prevention, sanctions/imprisonment, rehabilitation and reintegration – in order to ensure that the work of the institutional and societal actors involved is coherent and coordinated.
The support which we seek to provide includes manuals, guidelines, exchange of good practices through the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), funding programmes to finance projects in Member States and developing and making best use of EU networks to support prison and probation staff with trainings.
We are also working on more training, specialized interventions and better information exchange between prison/security officials and social/community organisations with a view to rehabilitation and reintegration after release.
With regard to risk management after release, the focus is on finding the right balance between reintegration and rehabilitation efforts and measures for monitoring after release, while ensuring utmost respect for fundamental rights. We need reliable risk assessment tools and effective deradicalisation and reintegration programmes. We are also in the process of compiling a manual that will include best practices related to all stages of the prison and probation process and support practitioners across the EU. The manual will be published in the beginning of December and we will be happy to share the manual with partners in NY when ready.
Finally, we want to thank UNODC (as well as UNOCT and CTED) for their cooperation with the European Union in the joint global programme on supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons, currently implemented in Kazakhstan, Tunisia, and Uganda (2017-2021). The lessons learnt from this programme will hopefully be a beneficial addition to the knowledge base and best practises available to the UN and EU member states on the challenges of radicalisation in prisons.