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The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) successfully organised the training component of the 18th Informal Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights, on the theme of “Human Rights and the Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE)” on 17-20 September 2019 in New Delhi, India. It served as a follow-up to the 18th Seminar on the same theme, which took place last year on 5-8 November 2018 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The training started off with the official launching of the 18th Seminar publication followed by a panel discussion.

Ms Irene M. SANTIAGO,internationally-renowned peace negotiator and one of the 2 Main Rapporteurs of the 18th Seminar, presented the main points of the publication and highlighted the recommendations drawn from the Working Groups at the Seminar in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the panel discussion, themed as the “Role of Human Rights Education (HRE) in PVE, aimed to enable a common understanding of the basics of HRE and to gain insight into the impact that HRE can have on preventing violent extremism. The topic for the panel discussion also serves as an inroad to creating a connection to the ASEM’s upcoming 19th Seminar on “Human Rights Education & Training”, which will take place on 4-6 November 2019 in Tromsø, Norway.

Throughout the panel discussion, approaches of HRE were discussed and a particular focus on their potential applications in school and universities was given in order to provide the audience with a practical strategic insight of what can be done to prevent violent extremism.

Over the course of 3.5 days, 25 participants representing 18 ASEM Partners (composed of government officials and civil society members) explored the problems and possible solutions to apply a human-rights based approach to PVE in the context of Asia-Europe relations. The training particularly focused on the practical methods to implement the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism across local, regional and national levels.

The participants benefitted from a diverse selection of speakers – from academic, governmental or civil backgrounds – Asian or European nationals. After having analysed the causes and conditions of violent extremism with Dr Radha KUMAR, specialist in ethnic conflicts and peace-making, the participants were then trained about hate speech. Indeed, the joint discussion of Dr Paul Bueno DE MESQUITA, professional psychologist and Mr Umit OZTURK, British journalist, community broadcaster and media trainer, highlighted the alternative narratives of offline and online hate speech. On the last day, the participants were encouraged to create their personal project plans to tackle violent extremism in their own contexts, empowered with the HR-friendly tools given out throughout the training.

Besides sharing the key messages of the 18th Seminar, the training attempted to enhance participants' knowledge on human rights and violent extremism in the context of Asia and Europe and to build their ability to promote the latter’s prevention through their daily achievements.

Should you wish to learn more about the Informal ASEM Human Rights Series, click here.