Since 2012, more than 5000 foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) have left their home countries to fight alongside terror groups in IS-controlled territories. The challenge posed by their return to their European home countries makes disengagement, rehabilitation & reintegration (DRR) practices an essential part of peace building and a common challenge for European policy makers. Indeed, reintegration is often controversial and can generate significant backlash from communities expected to take in former fighters. If former fighters are not accepted and reintegrated into the social, political and economic life, there is a greater likelihood of recidivism and a return to violence.
The Drive project
DRIVE is a European funded project that aims at mitigating threats related to foreign fighters and Islamist extremists through the improvement of effective Disengagement, Rehabilitation & Reintegration (DRR) practices based on human-centred treatment and the involvement of local communities and public actors. For this purpose, DRIVE project aims at identifying and diffusing best practices and policies with regard to DRR programs particularly in Western Balkans countries and strengthening these practices through the development of specific training modules and targeted dissemination campaigns.
The general objective of DRIVE is to prevent Islamist terrorism from proliferating at the EU’s fringes though development and diffusion of efficient and innovative approaches regarding DRR aiming to strengthen the Western Balkans’ capacity to manage threats connected with militant Islamism. By means of a series of steps including a practice and policy mapping and an exchange of knowledge and best practices, DRIVE will result in concrete publications (protocols, models and recommendations) regarding crucial aspects within the broad field of DRR, including stakeholder collaboration, risk assessment, community involvement in DRR and the treatment of particularly vulnerable segments such as female and minor extremists and FTF returnees.
Specific objectives of DRIVE are:
- Ensuring that extremists receive the treatment that fits their needs
- Facilitating early DRR in prison
- Enhancing the preparedness of front line practitioners to the specific needs of extremists
- Facilitating reintegration of extremists upon entry into society
- Ensuring smooth collaboration between institutions
- Facilitating DRR of particularly vulnerable groups
Disengagement, Rehabilitation & Reintegration (DRR) practices are processes that involved not only professionals and institution but the entire community. For this reason inter-institutional cooperation as well as community and networking are fundamental element for the deradicalization and reintegration process.
In this perspective DRIVE is targeted to a several group of actors including:
- national and local policy-makers,
- CSOs organizations
- social workers,
- youth organizations;
- security and religious actors
- correctional and probation service staff