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Responses to managing violent extremist prisoners strengthened in Indonesia

Jakarta (Indonesia), 4 August 2017
- UNODC Indonesia, in partnership with the Directorate General for Corrections (DGC) and the National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT), conducted the first strategic coordination meeting (SCM) to enhance Indonesia's response to violent extremist prisoners (VEPs). This two-day meeting was part Enhancing Indonesia's Capacity to Prevent Radicalisation, and brought together stakeholders from national and international communities.

In recent years, former VEPs have been involved in a number of high-profile terrorist attacks or attempted attacks in Indonesia, raising questions about the management of VEPs and effectiveness of deradicalisation programmes. A perpetrator of the 2016 bombing in Samarinda was previously sentenced to 3.5 years for bombing the Research Center for Science and Technology in Tangerang in 2011. Similarly, the perpetrator of the Bandung bombing in 2017 was convicted and sentenced to 3 years for a terrorism case in 2012.

With numerous entities providing a variety of interventions, one of the most prominent issues faced by Indonesia when working with VEPs is the lack of coordination and role assignment. VEPs management is complex and involves not only effective de-radicalisation and disengagement strategies, but also rehabilitation and reintegration programmes in combination with a well-functioning prison administration structure.

Such a broad scope cannot be covered by just the DGC and BNPT - it requires high levels of involvement from other government entities and civil society organisations. "In order to achieve that, all stakeholders need to be aware of all ongoing activities within the corrections context in order to ensure that each activity is improving and strengthening past and existing efforts rather than duplicating them" explained Mr. Collie Brown, UNODC Country Manager.

Major General Abdul Rahman Kadir, BNPT Deputy of Deradicalisation and Prevention, identified additional concerns within VEPs corrections facilities: the ease of face-to-face radicalisation and spread of ideology under the guise of religious studies. "The importance of starting rehabilitation programmes in DGC facilities prior to transferring prisoners to the BNPT deradicalisation center needs to be highlighted and supported by other government ministries and institutions," he said.

To address these challenges, the SCM mapped the VEPs deradicalisation work of government stakeholders, international partners, and civil society organisations. Participants were able to identifiy overlapping activities and areas where more interventions are needed.

One important outcome of this meeting was developping a national action plan on the management of VEPs. To follow up, UNODC will support government stakeholders in finalising the proposed plan over the next month.

In addition to mapping and coordinating the efforts of stakeholders, participants examined challenges in managing VEPs populations. A major issue was the lack of uniform indicators to measure the success of a VEP disengagement programme. Participants also discussed the importance of having an overarching strategy so that government stakeholders, international partners, and NGOs can contribute to the same outcomes.

This event represents the first of a series of SCMs, as part of UNODC's support to the Government of Indonesia to enhance the management of VEPs. A number of civil society organisations and diplomatic missions attended. Government participants included the President's Office, DGC, BNPT, Indonesian Special Forces for Counterterrorism (Special Detachment 88), National Development Planning Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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