SKOPJE – A new report focused on Macedonia’s response to violent extremism was published by Analytica in Skopje.
@Analyticamk / Photo: Analytica
The report aims to provide an evaluation of Macedonia’s efforts in countering violent extremism, while also acknowledging the breadth of this issue by examining the situation in the Western Balkans. It argues that countering and preventing violent extremism requires a fresh approach that focuses on empowering the community and closing trust gaps between relevant stakeholders.
One of the emerging violent extremist threats comes from the flow of foreign fighters from Macedonia to countries such as Syria and Iraq. This report reveals that Macedonian authorities have so far tended to prefer using criminalization and repressive measures in dealing with this issue. It is proposed that a more effective strategy for combating violent extremism would include empowering the local community to work together with both government and civil society institutions to push back extremist narratives and prevent the recruitment of at-risk youths.
In addition to the need for more comprehensive strategies to address violent extremist threats, the challenge of the returning foreign fighters must be tackled as well. This report highlights the concern over the lack of re-socialization and re-integration initiatives in Macedonia and suggests that religious communities could contribute to raising public awareness.
Taking into account that violent extremism poses a threat not only to Macedonia, but also to other countries of the Western Balkans, this report urges for more cooperation and information sharing in the region.
The report concludes by drawing out practical and policy-relevant recommendations for different stake-holders.
The authors of this policy report entitled “Assessment of Macedonia’s efforts in countering violent extremism, view from civil society” are Kaltrina Selimi and Filip Stojkovski, researchers at Analytica. The report is available for download here.