The Globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism Policy

Fri, 27 Apr 2018
Barcelona's Center of Contemporary Culture (CCCB) – Auditorium, Carrer de Montalegre, 5, 08001 Barcelona
Book Presentation & Panel Discussion

Among the things that characterized the first decade of the “War on Terror” was a rhetorical commitment to human rights on the part of European politicians that sought to differentiate themselves and the European Union from the United States of America. Whereas the ‘Neocons’ had responded to acts of terrorism with Guantanamo, regime change and drone strikes, Europe, we were told, was the ‘cradle of human rights’, and would frame its response differently. Since 2014, however, with an increase in both the number and impact of terrorist attacks in Europe (France, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, etc.), the kind of claims that ‘old Europe’ once represented are now nowhere to be heard.

Arun Kundnani and Ben Hayes will present their new report "The Globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism policy: undermining human rights, instrumentalising civil society". With special guest, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, will present her views on the global picture of human rights impact of counter-terrorism policies as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

In the early 2000s, a new form of counterterrorism policy – Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) – emerged, pioneered first in the Netherlands and the UK before spreading to other parts of Europe, the US and eventually the rest of the world. Within a decade, as policies were copied from one state to the next and taken-up by the European Union, United Nations and a host of other international fora, CVE was globalised.  From Finland to the Philippines, CVE policies have been presented as a more liberal, more intelligent, more holistic way of dealing with terrorism than the crude and inflammatory “war on terror”. This report commissioned by Transnational Institute and Societal Security Network indicates, on the contrary, that the globalisation of CVE means the globalisation of another set of alarming problems: harm to human rights and the undermining of civil society. The report analyses the frenzied adoption of CVE by policy-makers within institutions of the European Union, the United Nations and the Global Counterterrorism Forum, while the core issues that were present at the birth of CVE in the Netherlands and the UK remain unresolved.

The event is organized by  Open Society Initiative for Europe, the Transnational Institute and the Societal Security Network and co-hosted by the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.

Jordi Vaquer (moderator), regional director for Europe at the Open Society Foundations

Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror and Professor at New York University

Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

Ben Hayes, Transnational Institute

Fatiha el Mouali, civil rights and citizenship official, Granollers City Council and member of Unit against Fascism and Racism (Unitat contra el Feixisme i el Racisme).


Kindly confirm your availability no later than April 20 to Tanja Djordjevic at

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