Following a rise in Sunni, violent-extremism related events in Lebanon and Lebanese-Syrian border territories since 2013, Lebanese security forces responded with mass arrests of extremist elements. Subsequently, a large number of adults and juveniles were detained in Lebanese prisons on terrorism and violent extremism related charges. Juveniles were initially held with adults on the same charge, constituting a high risk environment for the strengthening of radical behaviours. In an effort to remedy this, juveniles were shifted to their own detention centre and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in cooperation with Roumieh Prison officials and representatives of the Lebanese Justice Ministry, developed a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program, aimed at supporting the radicalised juvenile group through their period in detention. The CVE program consists of two chief elements: disengagement from radical behaviours and
social reintegration. This article reflects on how the Roumieh CVE program was constructed, its tailored approach to youth radicalisation based on relevant Push and Pull factors, the role of family and community and the careful implementation of the Integration Approach in an attempt to cease social isolation of a stigmatised population. The article highlights the lessons to be drawn from the development and operation of the program which will be of particular interest to post-conflict and fragile states suffering from inter-communal instabilities, seeking to establish their own CVE programs for radicalised juvenile detainees.
Keywords: Juvenile detainees, Push and Pull factors, stigmatised population, CVE, Integration Approach
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