SEARCCT – MTCP Seminar on The Dynamics of Youth and Terrorism: Understanding and Countering the Issues

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SEARCCT successfully organised the Seminar on the Dynamics of Youth and Terrorism: Understanding and Countering the Issues from 19 to 25 September 2019 at the Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. This programme was conducted under the ambit of the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP), and SEARCCT has been running it since 2012. The seminar was attended by 19 participants from Afghanistan, Albania, Brunei, Philippines, Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Egypt, Palau, Palestine, Sri Lanka. Thailand, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

            The speakers for the seminar were law enforcement officials, legal experts, academicians, researchers, social media expert and SEARCCT’s expert from the Digital Strategic Communication Division.

            The seminar discussed the importance of listening to the voice of the youth, the need to empower them and guiding them in building the right identity. Participants learned that youth voiced their opinions through various channels namely through youth movements, NGOs, youth councils, political groups, social media and interestingly, through art as well. Participants were also taught that terrorist groups recruit young people at prisons, religious institutions, universities, institutes of higher learning and via the Internet. The programme also exposed participants to Malaysia’s counter-terrorism legal framework.

            Participants went through a practical session in developing digital counter-messaging products and managed to produce three short videos in a short time frame. Participants had also undergone a Table Top Exercise (TTX) entitled Operation New Hope, in which they came up with new recommendations for Governments to address the threat of online extremist messaging.

            The immediate outcome of this seminar was an “Action Plan” produced by participants, which called for countries to adopt a comprehensive approach in implementing the Prevention of Violent Extremism, the need to develop and disseminate counter-narratives on terrorism, to encourage youth to be involved in civil society activities, be it humanitarian, sports or volunteerism. The plan produced by the participants reflect the knowledge and information they gained throughout the seminar and also illustrated their better understanding of the issues discussed. It will assist them in planning for youth engagement programmes and counter-terrorism efforts in their respective countries.