A two-day training session on countering violent extremism in prisons was organized at the Central Jail Haripur in collaboration with the University of Haripur. The training, organized under Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative of the government of Pakistan, focused on understanding radicalization to violent extremism among prisoners; managing violent extremism in prison environments; and developing the role of frontline prison staff in countering violent extremism.
Islamic Research Institute (IRI) Director General Dr Ziaul Haq and Dr Abdul Moumin were prominent among those who spoke on the occasion. Prison department senior officials and jail staff attended the training session. In their speeches, the speakers stressed that the prison administrations should ensure the secure and safe custody of violent extremist prisoners; prevent radicalization to violence within prisons; seek to ensure that prisoners disengage from future violence; and prepare those being released for their reintegration into the community.
They said the challenges posed by violent extremist prisoners must be addressed in full compliance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and other relevant international standards and norms, including from a gender perspective. However, the speakers cautioned that any efforts in prison to address violent extremism must not lead to undermining fundamental human rights to which all persons, including violent extremist prisoners, are entitled, including the freedom of thought, religion or belief, and prohibition of torture.
After two days of engagements, the training participants drafted a list of recommendations to further enhance the management of violent extremism in their prisons, and outlined ways in which they would develop their personal approaches to improve their management of any such situations in line with international best practices and standards.