Building Resilience: Reflections from the GCTF REMVE Toolkit Workshop on Challenges in the Nordic Countries

Building Resilience: Reflections from the GCTF REMVE Toolkit Workshop on Challenges in the Nordic Countries

19-20 June 2024

The REMVE Initiative Leads, the United States and Norway, recently held their third awareness raising workshop in Oslo and at Utøya on 19-20 June 2024. This interactive workshop brought together a variety of stakeholders to enhance the REMVE Toolkit’s good practices and recommendations, incorporating unique local community-level perspectives to address rapidly evolving REMVE threats in the Nordic countries.

Racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism (REMVE)* poses significant global challenges, with adherents committing violence in defense of perceived threats to their racial or ethnic identity. These threats have become transnational, with individuals and groups connecting across borders via online platforms, sharing violent ideologies, and engaging in cross-border financial transactions. REMVE attacks in one country can inspire new attacks elsewhere.

Against this backdrop, this workshop provided practical guidance for developing strategies and programs to counter REMVE threats. Held in conjunction with the 2024 Nordic Conference on Violent Extremism, the workshop included panel sessions, interactive discussions, and breakout sessions focused on prevention efforts and building community resilience. Participants visited the Utøya island, engaging in discussions on the aftermath and societal impacts of the 22 July 2011 terrorist attacks, which was undertaken by a far-right extremist that killed 77 individuals, left many severely injured and caused significant material damage.

The workshop convened GCTF Members, government representatives, NGOs, civil society, academia, and community-based organizations to exchange lessons learned and good practices. Interactive exercises included key elements of the REMVE Toolkit, supporting practitioners and policymakers in developing policies and action plans to address REMVE threats at various levels.

*Regarding terminology, GCTF Members and experts use a number of different expressions to describe REMVE and interrelated threats. These include “racially or ethnically motivated terrorism,” “ideologically motivated violent extremism,” “right-wing terrorism,” “far-right terrorism,” “extreme-right terrorism,” “violent right-wing extremism,” and “white supremacist terrorism,” “terrorism on the basis of xenophobia,” and “terrorism in the name of religion or belief,” among others. At the international level, “violent incidents often underpinned by racial, ethnic, political, and ideological motivations” have been expressly outlined as aspects of “terrorist attacks on the basis of xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance, or in the name of religion or belief”(XRIRB). Despite differences in terminology, each of these expressions describes attacks perpetrated by individuals or groups in the name of defending against perceived threats to their racial or ethnic identity or ensuring the superiority/supremacy thereof.