In Bangladesh, PVE interventions through state and non-state actors are being implemented for the last couple of years in addressing different drivers of VE. Above 90 non-state organizations along with the government actors have different types of engagement and the experience of working to address the drivers of violent extremism. But there is not any platform for sharing the knowledge among the implementers and the leading actors; resulting in creating lack of common and evidence-based understanding about the effectiveness of the intervention and coming up with the deficiency of any applicable knowledge as well insights to be replicated contextually in respective areas and, with strategic target groups.
In this context, many resources are not being utilized in the most effective means. Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Unit has experiences on preventing radicalization and violent extremism in various parts of Bangladesh showed that the most of state and non-state actors do not have evidence-based knowledge to fight extremist views, ideas and narratives. Additionally, they are not sufficiently equipped to mobilize their fellow people/community against radicalization/VE to contribute to the national C/PVE effort. The US State Dept. Country Report on Terrorism (2017) shows that Bangladesh’s lack of a publicly available strategy to counter violent extremism hindered sustained engagement with the United States and the international community.
In this recurring condition, Rupantar as the Secretariat of the Stop Violence Coalition (SVC) organized the National Preventing / Countering Violent Extremism Conference in Bangladesh for the very first time in the history of the country in December, 2019 with the support of CTTCU of Dhaka metropolitan police, USAID, and UN Organizations. Followed by the formation of the advisory committee and the steering committee with the participation of state and non-estate actors, researchers, development practitioners; the conference took place in the 09th and 10th December of 2019 in International Conference Centre of Bashundhara (ICCB), Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. While it was inaugurated by the Honorable Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament and the senior advisor of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, the conference experienced the presence of ambassadors of various embassy in Bangladesh along with the UN organizations. It was wrapped up by the presence of the honorable Home Minister and the Inspector General of Police along with various distinguished guests.
The conference brought out people together and developed a platform to share knowledge in the unified platform. However, sharing knowledge of VE is not yet the norm since many are afraid what their acquired experience may bring upon themselves. In many countries only the government agency talks about VE and no one else dares share their knowledge. In Bangladesh this is the first-time people came together to let others know that they are not alone. People from different orientations have gathered different set of ideas as to why a certain individual turns to the dark path of VE. And sharing such stories might not have the same effect on everyone. Hopefully with the effect from this conference people would become more prompt to sharing their part of the story and be more lenient. Also, the government has their strategy to counter violent extremism. If they were to incorporate the ideas from PVE practitioners in their plan if would only benefit our society. The conference also experienced the 1st Draft of the National P/CVE Strategy presented by the designated CTTC where various recommendations are generated from the practitioner to be shared with them.