They learnt about the actors and drivers and the push and pull factors of extremism, post-independence politics, the JVP insurrections, Tamil minority alienation and the Easter Sunday attacks as well as planning for PVE intervention activity.
During the group activities, participants identified the issues polarising different religious and ethnic communities such as drugs use, unemployment, social media, child abuse, land encroachment and the economic crisis. They recommended intervention activities including video campaigns on social media and information sessions.
“After participating in this workshop, I learned more about PVE, especially the difference between terrorism and violent extremism and the work that young people have to do to prevent violent extremism in our region. Young people and the business community should cooperate on this,” said B. M. Riyath from the Ampara District.
“In our region, civil society faces many challenges in preventing violent extremism. Political intervention is one of the main ones. Civil society, youth and other activists will be able to face the challenges ahead only if they continue to act together,” said Supun Rathnayaka, Kandy District Youth committee.
“I learnt about PVE related ideology and why people become extremists. If we, the youth, respect other people's views and act with understanding and social unity, we can prevent violent extremism based on ethnic, religious, regional and cultural differences. The difference in status given to men and women in society is also a problem. Providing leadership training to young women can prevent violent extremism from growing,” said Fathima from the University of Colombo.