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Document Abstract
Published: 2016

Silencing the guns: terrorism, mediation and non-state armed groups

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On 21–22 October 2015, the African Union (AU), in collaboration with the Government of Namibia, hosted the Sixth AU High-level Retreat of Special Convened under the theme of “Terrorism, mediation and non-state armed groups”, the objectives of the retreat were to provide a platform for delegates to deliberate on the successes and challenges in relation to tackling the underlying causes of terrorism in Africa, to provide recommendations, and to discuss and exchange views on shared responsibilities and coordination between African and international actors working on preventing and combating terrorism.

A key element of the retreat was to use the opportunity to start conceptualising a shared continental counterterrorism response strategy, as well as specifically to explore the ways in which dialogue and mediation could be used to counter terrorism. A key outcome of the retreat was the Windhoek Declaration, attached as an appendix to this report.Envoys and Mediators on the Promotion of Peace, Security and Stability in Africa in Windhoek, Namibia.

This research report is based on the deliberations of the Windhoek Retreat and provides an overview of the proceedings, highlighting the key points that came out of the discussions. Much of the report is dedicated to expanding and elaborating on some of the discussions that took place. Structurally, the report first explains the background and context to the deliberations by providing an understanding and definition of terrorism, and its origins. It also focuses on the causes of terrorism in Africa and identifies violent extremist actors, trends and dynamics on the African continent. Second, the report highlights the current approaches that have been adopted in response to countering terrorist acts, with specific reference to the challenges that remain and the role of mediation as an effective approach to oppose terrorism, by drawing on a number of case studies. Finally, several recommendations have been elicited to determine the most effective way forward that promotes a holistic approach to dealing with terrorism and violent extremism.

 

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