GCTF Exploratory Dialogues on REMVE

GCTF Exploratory Dialogues on REMVE

21 and 29 April 2021

As an informal multilateral counterterrorism platform, the GCTF strives to stay ahead of the curve and to position itself as a space for global dialogue. It has also produced numerous good practices and recommendations for preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism. The Forum regularly considers how else the global GCTF community can make use of these publically available resources.

Taking advantage of the GCTF’s virtual activity experience acquired over the past months, the United States, in coordination with Australia and Indonesia, Co-Chairs of the Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, convened two high-level exploratory dialogues on Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism (REMVE). These exploratory dialogues marked the first time the GCTF has explicitly examined the REMVE threat. They considered the varied terminology used to describe the threat, the threat landscape, and how the GCTF can help to address it.

Terminology and focus differ, though there is consensus that the threat landscape encapsulates a wide range of violent ideologies. Individuals or groups promote or perpetrate terrorist attacks in the name of defending against perceived threats to their racial or ethnic identity or ensuring the superiority/supremacy of this identity, but they can also be rooted in gender-based grievances, anti-authority narratives, or a mixture of motivations and grievances.

Some of the factors and challenges of the REMVE threat landscape include:

  • The sharp rise in recent years across multiple countries;
  • Operations, ideologies, and actors have become increasingly transnational;
  • The internet is one of the main tools used for recruitment and to spread narratives;
  • The significant growth of lone-actor attacks and unaffiliated radicalization pose a particular challenge for law enforcement organizations;
  • Efforts to counter the threat have garnered increased attention and funding from national governments across the globe, as well as from intergovernmental organizations and civil society stakeholders;
  • Despite growing national-level and international attention, efforts are sometimes stymied by differing understanding of the nature of these threats;
  • There are important similarities as well as key differences between REMVE and other types of terrorism; and,
  • A unique challenge—legal regimes for counterterrorism efforts were not designed with these threats in mind and may not allow states to address them appropriately.

The GCTF is a platform through which government, intergovernmental, and civil society stakeholders can advance their understanding of the REMVE threat, exchange ideas, and develop best practices for countering it. Participants in the GCTF exploratory dialogues agreed that the Forum is well positioned to bring together the full spectrum of stakeholders required to address this threat effectively, and that it should leverage its position to coordinate further activities.