Across South Asia, civil society has made important contributions to enhancing rule of law–based efforts to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism. Its role as advocate, monitor, technical expert, trainers, service provider, and information hub complements the efforts of law enforcement and security actors, and many opportunities exist for partnerships. Civil society actors have also played an important role in promoting development, improved governance and human rights in the region and a resilient social contract between citizens and the state.
This policy brief reflects on these contributions and explores opportunities for civil society to support cooperative regional efforts to respond to terrorism and violent extremism. It draws largely from a workshop titled “Strengthening Rule of Law–Based Responses to Terrorism and Violent Extremism in South Asia: What Role for Civil Society?” which was organized by the Global Center in partnership with the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore and the Institute for Inclusive Security. Following an overview of the limitations and challenges faced by civil society actors in the region, this brief offers a set of recommendations for policymakers and practitioners with a view to informing the design and implementation of programming to prevent violent extremism and terrorism in South Asia.