Bogor (Indonesia), 10 November 2022 - STRIVE Juvenile organized a training workshop that brought together 32 participants from the capital as well as from Central Java, East Java, Central Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, and Aceh. During the three day event, professionals from the security sector, correctional officers, social workers, law enforcement agents and civil society actors seized the opportunity for in-depth exchanges on issues regarding the rehabilitation and reintegration of children formerly associated with terrorist and violent extremist groups.
When children are recruited, trained and exploited by these groups, their lives change. They experience violence and trauma; and their bonds with society are severed. Even after exiting these groups, they are looked at with suspicion and fear and face rejection and stigma. Over the past years, and under the aegis of the National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism that Leads to terrorism (RAN-PE),Indonesia has made it a national priority to support these children in their journey to rehabilitation and reintegration. UNODC has worked with the Government of Indonesia since 2018, to ensure that children are better protected from terrorism.
In opening the event, the Deputy Head for International Cooperation of BNPT, the National Counter Terrorism Agency, Mr Andhika Chrisnayudhanto, stressed that “governments need to strengthen multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder cooperation in designing appropriate rehabilitation and reintegration interventions, including involving local government, families and communities”. Mr Marc Vierstraete-Verlinde, representative of the EU delegation stated: “children who have gone through such violence, those children whose childhood was not spent in an environment that would allow them to grow and develop with health, dignity and support, those children cannot be left alone.”
As part of a training cycle designed to guide professionals on how to tailor rehabilitation and reintegration processes to protect children formerly associated with terrorist and violent extremist groups, this first workshop provided a forum for the discussion of concrete challenges faced by Indonesian professionals. One of these challenges was recalled by a representative of civil society: “some of these children are rejected by the families when they come back, because they fear the reactions of the communities knowing they have been with terrorists: we need to help them”. A major achievement of the workshop was the bringing together of professionals from multiple disciplines to identify shared and coordinated solutions and elaborate a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for children in Indonesia.
UNODC and the Government of Indonesia attach great importance to institution and capacity development in relation to the protection of children from the threats associated with terrorism. This workshop was part of a cycle of capacity-building events that will continue into 2023 to support community-based and localized rehabilitation and reintegration strategies in Indonesia.