Who we are

The Observatory to Prevent Extremist Violence (OPEV) is an active platform of civil society organisations from across the Euro-Mediterranean Region aiming to bring a constructive contribution to prevent violent extremism. In view of the lessons learned over the past decades and the challenges that lie ahead, this platform coordinates the efforts to follow-up the implementation of the Plan of Action of the Euro-Mediterranean civil society to prevent all forms of violent extremism. The OPEV will not follow the State dynamics and will not support any war against terrorism.

The OPEV conducts the following activities:

  • Coordinate the efforts to follow-up the implementation Plan of Action.
  • Be a focal point for all signers of the Plan of Action to conduct coordinated efforts to promote violent extremisms prevention actions’ policy framework.
  • Ensure the establishment of an active platform of civil society organisations from across the Euro-Mediterranean Region that encourages coordinated efforts.
  • Conduct research-action approaches to determine the key drivers of ALL violent extremisms in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
  • Conduct big data analysis and research on the propaganda and hate speech in Internet and social media.
  • Promote Regional campaigns raising alternative narratives to existing community grievances.
  • Advocate for the development and implementation of local, regional and national plans of action for the prevention of violent extremisms including CSOs and encompassing youth engagement, gender equality and the inclusion of marginalized groups. The participation of CSOs on the design of national plans of actions is specified in the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
  • Enhance the communication and coordination of the CSOs platform issued from the Barcelona Conference by sharing all necessary elements (good practices, tools, etc.) in order to empower them and further contribute to the prevention of violent extremism.
  • Identify the best practices of the civil society organisations to prevent the violent extremism to share and foster the Euro-Mediterranean CSOs platform issued from the Barcelona Conference.
  • Present reports on anti-terrorist laws adopted by our regional states and their impact in terms of human rights violations.
  • Provide technical support (networking, training, etc.) to the EuroMediterranean CSOs platform.

The problem

Violent extremist is an affront to the values of the civil society committed with maintaining positive peace, promoting real democracies, human security, sustainable development and protecting human rights. Violent extremism is undermining our humanity in all the Euro-Mediterranean Region. Extremist movements are cynically distorting and exploiting religious beliefs, ethnic differences and political ideologies to gain political power and act against human rights and fundamental freedoms. Fanatic movements which are spreading racist, ultra-nationalist and extreme-right ideologies are gaining momentum and institutional representation.

We understand violent extremism(s) as the ideologies that aspire to achieve political power opting for the use of violent means over persuasion. Violent extremist ideologies are based in totalitarian, fanatic, intolerant, patriarchal, anti-democratic and antipluralistic values. Violent extremist ideologies can be adopted by individuals, groups, corporations or states.

Nothing can justify violent extremism but we must also acknowledge that it does not arise in a vacuum. The available qualitative evidence points to the presence of certain recurrent drivers, which are common among a wide variety of countries of the Euro- Mediterranean Region and which lead, sometimes in isolation and sometimes in combination with other factors, to radicalization and violent extremism.

The response

Current response

Over the past decades, our Euro-Mediterranean governments have sought to address violent extremism within the context of security-only counter-terrorism measures. Those strategies, understood as a failure to deal with the factors that lead to extremism and violence cannot dry up the emotional and social wellsprings of violent radicalization and, indeed, can make matters worse.

In the name of the fight against terrorism, we have observed an extensive use of military power and the adoption of a repressive legal arsenal, that has not only been highly ineffective, but also responsible for dramatic human rights violations and increasing global human suffering. The anxiety to respond has also fostered overreactions in terms of Homeland Security, whereby our fundamental freedoms and civil and political rights have been restricted, subjected to massive vigilance and democratic and plural values have been limited by a general state of emergency.

Our response

In the name of the fight against terrorism, governments have curtailed political freedoms and imposed restrictive measures against human rights defenders and civil society activists in many countries. States systematically invoke national security and public safety to shrink the space of independent civil society activities. It is essential to maintain and protect civil society if we want to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.

OPEV aims to harness the commitment, idealism, hope, creativity, and energy of civil society groups all around the Euro- Mediterranean Region to generate an effective alternative in front of violent radicalisation. To be effective in preventing violent extremism, the actions of the Euro-Mediterranean civil society must be as agile and far-reaching as the phenomenon itself. We should improve our set of tools dynamically and keep reviewing our responses.

National Secretariats

The national secretariat has the right to be constituted from five or more full member at national level.

The member organizations of the Permanent National Secretariat are elected amongst the full members and in a national meeting. Gender balance must be insured in the composition of national secretariats.

The Permanent National Secretariat of OPEV has the following responsibilities:

  • To coordinate the efforts of individual members in the implementation of the OPEV’s strategy and the Action Plan at national and regional level.
  • To ensure a regular communication and exchanges with the different National Permanent Secretariats.
  • To ensure the reporting of the different actions and activities implemented at the national level.
  • To represent OPEV at national level.
  • To contribute with available resources (technical, in kind, financial, facilities…), whenever possible, towards the implementation of activities within the OPEV, at the national level.
  • To organize and to manage different meetings with all the OPEV members at the national level.

List of members

The Barcelona Declaration has been possible thanks to the efforts of 172 Euro-Mediterranean NGO’s who participated in the writing, debate and first adoption of the declaration. After that, other organisations have been joining the platform. If you think that your Organization shares the values and actions of our Plan of Action you can join us and work together. Check the list of members of the OPEV and organizations who participated in the definition of the Barcelona Declaration.

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