Recommendation 4

Invest and develop a close partnership with local government and local communities to deal with RFTFs (GCTF’s The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum, Good Practice 1914).

States are encouraged to develop a good partnership with both local government and local communities. While States are in charge of developing a comprehensive approach in dealing with RFTFs, local governments and local communities often have a better understanding of the context in which individuals in their communities have become radicalized and can play a critical role in preventing violent extremism, detecting the return of an FTF and assisting in the reintegration of a RFTF into society. Local authorities can thus play an important role in individual risk assessment by providing relevant information and in deciding on appropriate, tailor-made interventions.

Timely sharing of information between the national and the local level is essential. Local police can – through regular contacts with the family, schools, and neighborhood – be involved, where appropriate, in monitoring and surveillance of RFTFs and in collecting evidence through interviewing teachers, friends, or family members.

Local governments should be closely involved in developing a reintegration program for RFTFs. The local government can advise on housing issues, education, and job prospects within the municipality, but can also help to prepare and gain support from the local community to accept the return of an FTF into the community.

In some countries, multidisciplinary panels or teams have been created, including at the local level. The use of multi-disciplinary platforms to discuss RFTF cases can facilitate reaching a common assessment and making a proper and tailor-made decision as to how to proceed in an individual case. These multi-disciplinary teams could consist of law enforcement, security agencies and prosecutors but could also involve social workers, probation services, and relevant municipal authorities to further assist in reaching integrated decisions - respecting the mandates and responsibilities of each of the partners.

Furthermore, States are also encouraged to reach out to local communities and establish constructive dialogues. States could facilitate setting up independent telephone helplines, local points of contacts, or family support units, which provide counseling, support and information to family members of RFTFs. To gain trust, it is advisable to develop privacy rules and share these with the local community. The support of family members and the local community are vital to achieving a successful reintegration of a RFTF back into society and to prevent (further) radicalization to violence in the direct social environment of the RFTF.15

States should consider measures to ensure that other actors, which may include the private sector, civil society organizations, local authorities, community leaders, receiving communities, and families, are provided with adequate support and guidance in their roles and that they take on roles that suit their unique strengths and consider their limitations.

14. Supra note 1.

15. For additional guidance, see the GCTF’s The Role of Families in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism: Findings, Recommendations and Programming Options.