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Brussels, 11 March 2013
Commissioner Malmström: the voice of terrorism victims must be heard
''Today, on the occasion of the EU day for the Remembrance of victims of terrorism, we stand together against terror: to ensure that those who have lost their lives to senseless acts of violence are not forgotten and that their memories are kept alive; to help survivors cope with what happened to them and their loved ones; to spread messages of non-violence and reconciliation; to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.
Victims of terrorism can help us in this daunting task. They are strong actors against extremists and to prevent vulnerable individuals to resort to violence: their voices must be heard and we need to support them in sharing their stories.
The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) is looking into how to best help the victims challenging terrorist propaganda. Victims’ voices carry a powerful message for prevention and de-radicalisation, and we have to make sure they feel comfortable with sharing their story and that we give them the necessary support available''.
What is being done?
The Radicalisation Awareness Network, launched in September 2011, is an umbrella network connecting people involved in preventing radicalisation and violent extremism throughout Europe.
First-line practitioners from different EU Member States and Norway, such as social workers, religious leaders, youth leaders, policemen, researchers and others who work on the ground in vulnerable communities can meet, each in their area of expertise, in order to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences.
A High Level conference of the RAN took place on January 29 (IP/13/59 and MEMO/13/40), providing opportunities for the practitioners to make recommendations and interact with policy makers ('empowering local actors to prevent violent extremism').
They discussed proposals for 15 concrete actions to counter violent extremism, as well as recommendations from the experts and practitioners who meet in the 8 different RAN working groups, including on voices of victims of terrorism.
The objective of the RAN working group on Voices of Victims of Terrorism is to make the voices of the victims heard, their positive values understood and their role empowered. It highlights the concrete consequences of violent radicalisation on a human scale and uses this for prevention and deradicalisation.
Apart from funding the set up and functioning of the RAN the Commission is financially supporting a number of projects aiming to tackle radicalisation leading to violent extremism.
Each year it provides funding to projects and actions for aiding and protecting victims of terrorism, including supporting the dissemination of victims’ testimonies that delegitimise terrorist propaganda. The financial support is offered by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme (ISEC).
As part of these projects, the European Commission financed a European exhibition of photos aimed at strengthening civil society attention towards the victims. The exhibition, initiated by the Miguel Angel Blanco Foundation in partnership with the French and Italian Associations for Victims of terrorism (AFVT and AIVITER), is the first European exhibition on photos on terrorism in Europe from the point of view of the victims. The exhibition will be presented for the first time in Brussels at the Committee of the Regions in occasion of the European Day of Victims on 11 March 2013.
In addition, in October 2012, the EU adopted new rules guaranteeing rights for all victims of crime in the EU - including victims of terrorism (IP/12/1200). The EU directive on minimum standards for victims was tabled by the Commission in May 2011 (IP/11/585 and MEMO/11/310). It ensures minimum levels of rights, support and protection for all crime victims across the EU, no matter where they come from or live.