PODGORICA – Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro Mr Edin Koljenović met with representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ms Anica Andelkovic and Mr Emil Balavac on Thursday, 4 March. The meeting took place in the premises of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Podgorica and focused on discussing opportunities for cooperation between RYCO and the IOM.
The current state of play in Montenegro in terms of the needs and gaps to prevent violent extremism through community-based support to youth was also a focal point of the discussion.
Mr Koljenović took this opportunity to discuss RYCO’s work and mission in the regional context and described its main thematic pillars enshrined in the RYCO strategic documents. Furthermore, he put particular focus on the concrete results that RYCO managed to achieve in the rather volatile circumstances in the Western Balkans which are characterized by the ethnic and national distance among different groups. Such distance presents a significant burden for younger generations and the overall prosperity of the region.
“Radicalization is a pervasive phenomenon that has various roots, and they are not always necessarily connected with fundamentalist religious ideologies. Media manipulation, retrograde rhetoric and hate speech examples on social media are fuelling radicalization and this is dangerous as it can have deep consequences on the social cohesion in society,” Mr Koljenovic stated.
Mr Balavac highlighted that IOM is piloting a new approach for preventing the possible development of violent extremism by relying on youth in the local communities. “This approach is currently being implemented in 37 cities and municipalities throughout the region with positive feedback from the local community,” Mr Balavac concluded during the meeting.