Responsibility for Displaced Civilians and Effective Voices for Preventing Radicalization

February 2020 No Comments

Responsibility for Displaced Civilians and Effective Voices for Preventing Radicalization

Authors | Editors: Rieger, T. (NSI, Inc.); Goncharova, A. (NSI, Inc.)

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Host countries, along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have the primary responsibility for the management and ongoing care of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). However, ongoing budget shortfalls and the recent surge in the number of displaced civilians create ongoing challenges in many countries, leading to the need to prioritize resources. Once basic needs are met by the host country and UNHCR, priority should be given to the host country providing economic opportunities, psychological counseling, and a secure environment, as well as countering any potential extremist narratives. Counter-narrative work should go beyond simple religious re-education and should take into account local grievances that could be exploited by militant organizations. The most effective voices for ideology-based counter-narratives are respected clerics and experts that share a similar background to the displaced population. Ownership within a country and the specific “voice” for each of these priority areas may differ, depending on resources, but are best delivered by in-country institutions and resources to maintain trust and a perception of neutrality. The most appropriate US military involvement is protection of displaced civilians from combat operations and assisting with security concerns surrounding relocation. While the US military can assist with other needs, such as water supply, camp infrastructure, and security, doing so requires the proper authorization and funding, and should be viewed only as a temporary solution.

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