Preventing Violent Extremism among children and young adults: "There is a world waiting for you out there"

Beirut, 4 November 2017 - The phenomenon of violent extremism leading to terrorism is one of the most important reasons behind commissioning terrorist acts. Using the opportunity of Canada's celebration of its One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary, UNODC organized some activities to show the public UNODC's work in preventing this phenomenon.

Using an interactive approach, UNODC introduced the concept of Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) to the public as well as its main causes. Visitors were requested to identify, according tot heir knowledge, the main causes of violent extremism. Almost third of the visitors chose "Distortion and misuse of religious beliefs and political ideologies" as the main cause, followed by "Marginalization, discrimination and lack of socioeconomic opportunities"- (27%); "Psychological and pathological factors" - (17%); "Individual backgrounds and motivations" - (13%); and finally, "Influence of extremist leaders and social networks" (12%).

Visitors were later asked whether they believed rehabilitation of violent extremists in prisons is possible. Among the 196 visitors, 71% considered that rehabilitation is possible and 29% did not see that rehabilitation is possible for this category of prisoners.

Registering their reactions on the possibility of rehabilitating this category of prisoners within the Lebanese prison system, UNODC took the opportunity to acquaint them with a wide range of activities undertaken by UNODC in Lebanon, which went beyond the topic of violent extremism. In response, guests wrote messages of hope, which will be shared with the children and young adults in detention, especially those charged with offences related to terrorism. Some of these messages read "Think about it" and "Do not lose hope, better days will come".

Her Excellency, Ambassador Lamoureux, visited UNODC stand during the festival and took part in the different activities organized. Her message to children and young adults involved in the project was empowering: "There is a world waiting for you out there!"

These activities took place under the framework of UNODC project in Lebanon "Improved prison management and rehabilitation and reintegration of high-risk prisoners in Lebanon", funded by Canada, and implemented in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Justice. 

For more information, please contact, renee.sabbagh[AT]un.org