Friend not Foe: Opening Spaces for Civil Society Engagement to Prevent Violent Extremism

Published: May 2011

In the name of fighting terrorism, governments have curtailed political freedoms and imposed restrictive measures against human rights defenders and civil society activists in many countries. Repressive counterterrorism measures have undermined civil liberties and contributed to a climate of suspicion and hostility toward nongovernmental groups.

Many of the organizations that work against violent extremism by promoting human rights and sustainable development are themselves being labeled extremist and are facing constraints on their ability to operate.

This 2011 report by the Fourth Freedom Forum and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies assesses the negative impact of overly broad counter-terrorism measures and highlights the work of CSOs to reduce violent extremism, with case studies from Colombia, Kenya, India, and the Philippines.