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Monday 16th of July 2018

Press Room

PRALT national seminar in Belgium: Experts discuss prevention of juvenile radicalisation and judicial responses

Tuesday 26th of June 2018
IJJO Day by Day

On the 22nd of June the National Belgian Seminar of the PRALT project ‘The prevention of juvenile radicalisation: Promoting the use of alternatives to detention through judicial training’, took place in the city of Brussels, organised by the IJJO in collaboration with the CAPREV (Center for Assistance and Care for All Persons Affected by Radicalism and Violent Extremisms). 


The ‘PRALT’ project studies the issue of youth radicalisation prevention and how to tackle this phenomenon within and outside of the justice system. The Belgian national seminar's fundamental objective was to present the main findings of the work carried out by all the project partners, with special emphasis on the training manual that has been produced.

The day, which brought together experts working in local NGOs and local programmes, as well as from the judicial sector, began with a welcoming speech by Madeleine Guyot, attached after the General Delegate for the Rights of the Child (Wallonia-Brussels Federation), where she also gave a presentation of the situation of youth radicalisation in Belgium. Adélaïde Vanhove, policy officer for the IJJO, then presented the PRALT project, its goals and main outputs, such as the training manual and policy brief, amongst others.

The first roundtable regarding the treatment of radicalised children in institutions then followed. Delphine Paci, lawyer registered at the Brussels Bar, started the discussion by presenting some cases she encountered during her practice. Then, Claire-Anne Dupont, Delegate for the judicial protection service (Wallonia-Brussels Federation) explained the role and functioning of her department when dealing with radicalised juveniles.

Nabila Mazouz, founder of Jihad Van de Moeders, gave her analysis on the topic and through her experience, suggested some streams of action (involvement of the parents in the process, role of the Imam to open the discussion with the youngster).

The second panel discussion considered the judicial responses for young returnees. Ms. Paci started the discussion by presenting some cases she encountered during her practice. Then, Ms. Dupont explained how children returnees were dealt with by the judicial protection services. The participants emphasised the importance of family ties, the set up of a psychological support and the reintegration of children returnees, often traumatised, into a familiar environment.

Olivier Vanderhaeghen, project leader in the prevention of radicalisation (municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean), suggested that the concept of violent radicalisation was not applicable to children, and that emphasis should rather be made on the treatment of children's traumas. Ms. Paci, Ms. Dupont and Ms. Guyot then discussed the specific details of the Belgian procedure when dealing with young returnees.

During the third and last panel discussion, the participants discussed the measures and mechanisms for the monitoring and reintegration of radicalised children.

Pascal Pierart, project manager at CREA (Center for Resources and Support for the Prevention of Extremism and Violent Radicalism, Wallonia-Brussels Federation) presented projects of primary prevention, such as the "Rien à faire, rien à perdre" project.

Finally, Alain Nlandu, ethnologist, expert on child soldiers and consultant at Solentra, talked about his experience with child soldiers and made the link between them and radicalised juveniles.

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