Preventing Violent Extremism Through Sport: Technical Guide (UNODC, 2020)

Preventing Violent Extremism Through Sport: Technical Guide (UNODC, 2020)

In recognizing that sport can offer a space for learning and improve mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence, UNODC promotes sport as a vehicle to strengthen youth resilience to crime and violence, including in the context of preventing violent extremism. The present guide was developed by UNODC as a tool to support Member States in their efforts to prevent violent extremism. In particular, it is designed to guide policymakers and implementing organizations in order to support and strengthen programming and activities in this field. The contents of the guide can also be utilized by sports coaches, associations and clubs, as well as community organizations that work with youth in sport and community settings. The practical application of this tool may include using it as a reference document for capacity-building activities, applying the theory of change explained in the guide when designing and measuring the impact of sport-based activities for the prevention of violent extremism, and more generally developing a deeper understanding of how sport can be used in the context of preventing violent extremism.

The aim of the present guide is to explore and, where possible, promote the use of sport as an effective prevention tool that seeks to disrupt the radicalization and recruitment processes, addressing primarily push factors towards violent extremism, and not as a tool for disengagement from violence and the reintegration of individuals who have already joined violent extremist organizations (i.e., countering violent extremism). It is however, acknowledged that action to prevent and counter violent extremism must be aligned and combined.

Sport can be a powerful tool and an apolitical mechanism for recognizing and challenging beliefs or behaviours that threaten human rights or feed manifestations of discrimination, prejudice or violence that translate into restrictions of personal freedom. All sport and prevention of violent extremism programmes need to adhere to fundamental rights and incorporate them to influence codes of practice and project cultures and philosophies. This includes a commitment by organizations and staff to adopt specific strategic mechanisms for safeguarding children’s rights and to ensure inclusivity and gender equality in projects.

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TopicPreventing violent extremism


Themes: Preventing violent extremism