The visit began today in Bern with a discussion between the two delegations on national strategies and plans related to the prevention of violent extremism. Throughout the day, focus was put on best practice and the challenges in such areas as interdisciplinary cooperation and coordination, the role of civil society, radicalisation and extremism among prison inmates. The exchange will continue tomorrow with each country presenting their national counter-terrorism arrangements and will include specific topics such as managing returning jihadist fighters and combating radicalisation on the internet.
The participants will then move on to Geneva for discussions with the cantonal institutions responsible for PVE. The visit will conclude on Thursday, 23 november, at the Maison de la paix with a presentation of PVE as one of Switzerland’s foreign policy priorities, in particular through the activities Switzerland has already launched.
The Tunisian delegation compromises the vice-president and two members of the national counter-terrorism commission, three representatives from the interior ministry, and a representative each from the foreign ministry, civil society and the human rights field, who are responsible for the alternative dialogue platform and countering terrorism in Tunisia. The Swiss participants come from various FDFA offices as well as the Swiss Security Network, fedpol and the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS), and representatives from the Republic and Canton of Geneva and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
This exchange gives Switzerland the opportunity to reinforce one of its key messages: the importance of engaging in prevention, in addressing the root and structural causes of violent extremism whether political, social or economic, and the need to guarantee full respect for human rights and the rule of law. It also provides the opportunity to improve cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, particularly during the session planned for Tuesday.
Tunisia and Switzerland have reiterated their will to advance bilateral cooperation in PVE on several occasions. This joint commitment was formalised at the highest level when the Tunisian president, Mr Béji Caïd Essebsi, signed a declaration of intent on PVE between the Swiss Federal Council and the government of the Republic of Tunisia during his visit to Bern in 2016. The 2017-20 cooperation strategy for Tunisia also includes PVE activities, and Switzerland is already supporting a number of PVE projects in Tunisia.
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