Divesting from PVE/CVE/CT Terminology

It has become recently clear that many subject matter experts in the West, as well as media leaders, are questioning the  practicability and expediency of such terminology, that is not only antagonistic to local communities in the ME (Islamic label) but in view of rising white supremacist and anti-Semitic sentiments/movements in the West that we rid ourselves of such terminology and  instead move on to conflict resolution (not only in fragile contexts) and peace building in communities. It is no longer a matter of 'prevention' or 'countering', rather a matter of 'diversity management', accepting the 'difference' and social peace.  PVE/CVE initiatives have failed due to a security-centric approach, that not only alienates but divides communities. The latest attack in NZ is a proof to that.  Governments, civil society and non-governmental organizations have to work together towards peace building rather than 'prevention' . We are all aware of the drivers of extremism. Lets see to it that we search for amends rather than confrontation.  Contextualization is key as one-size does not fit all. 

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  • Dear Mr. Khoury, Indeed I agree with you that contextualization is extremely important. Many thanks for your comments on PVE/CVE/CT terminology.  There is an interesting new newsletter "European Eye on Radicalization" that is discussing a lot of these issues.

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  • Mr. Khoury, I agree with many of your comments.  In my former military life, we were focused on counter-terrorism (CT). I never liked the term because it was reactive vice proactive. A CT strategy's entire existence was contingent upon always having an enemy to counter. This led to a drastic oversimplification of the armed groups in the area lumping them all together as "terrorists," and ignoring the context of the situation.  A far more viable approach, in my mind, is a promote stability strategy. This is more inclusive of the various methods needed to effectively resolve conflict.

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« Il est nécessaire d’adopter une approche plus globale, qui comprenne non seulement les mesures essentielles de lutte contre le terrorisme axées sur la sécurité actuellement mises en oeuvre mais aussi des mesures de prévention systématiques qui s’attaquent directement aux causes de l’extrémisme violent […]. […]Je me suis donné pour priorité de donner un nouvel élan aux activités de prévention de l’Organisation, notamment s’agissant de prévenir les conflits armés, les atrocités, les catastrophes, la violence à l’égard des femmes et des enfants et la violence sexuelle liée aux conflits, et ai lancé une initiative visant spécialement à placer les droits de l’homme au premier plan. »

Citation du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies dans son Plan d’action pour la prévention de l’extrémisme violent (A/70/674, 24.12.2015) 


There is a need to take a more comprehensive approach which encompasses not only ongoing, essential security-based counter-terrorism measures, but also systematic preventive measures which directly address the drivers of violent extremism […].  […] I have made it a priority to re-energize the Organization’s prevention agenda, especially with respect to preventing armed conflict, atrocities, disasters, violence against women and children, and conflict-related sexual violence, and have launched a dedicated initiative to place human rights upfront.” 

Quotation from the United Nations Secretary-General in his Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (A/70/674, 12/24/2015)