“The fight against jihadism is the great challenge of our generation”
As of 9 May 2016, the plan adopted in 2014 has been replaced by this anti-radicalisation and terrorism action plan (PART - Plan d’action contre la radicalisation et le terrorisme). The 80 measures, 50 of them new, are split into seven priorities:
- detecting signs of radicalisation and terrorist networks at the earliest possible stage;
- monitoring, obstructing and neutralising terrorist networks;
- combating terrorism within its international networks and sanctuaries;
- increasing the reach of radicalisation prevention mechanisms in order to ensure personalised measures for different populations;
- developing applied research in terms of counter-arguments and involving France’s Islamic community;
- improving protection of vulnerable sites and networks;
- being able to react to any terrorist attack and demonstrating the Nation’s resilience.
Thanks to a national freephone number, created in 2014, reports of radicalisation are collected and processed. A common analytical framework has been developed to determine whether or not the facts reported constitute a danger, and the framework is now shared between the platform listeners, the intelligence services and departmental monitoring units.Action is required with regard to terrorists’ movements in order “to prevent terrorists from travelling and procuring arms and financing”. To this end, the French PNR will be progressively implemented from this summer.
“The prisons system will be equipped with a fully operational intelligence service, after having already created dedicated units where radicalised prisoners can be held. Chaplaincies, training programmes, making prisons secure: we must do everything in our power to limit the influence of self-proclaimed imams who are recruiting in prisons”, the Prime Minister announced.
Taking Action against RadicalisationAn operational fight is also being conducted within France against these networks. Firstly, this involves cutting off all sources of financing: “anyone who joins the terrorist networks forfeits the benefit of social rights”, the Prime Minister said. “The Budget Ministry will also freeze the financial assets of groups and associations suspected of financing terrorism.”
“The legal authorities are responsible for cracking down on terrorism”, Manuel Valls continued. When the courts do not have enough evidence for prosecution, “the control and assessment mechanisms need to be very strict. I am referring in particular of those returning to France after fighting as jihadists.” It is therefore necessary to “monitor these individuals’ return to France very strictly”, within the framework of measures for dealing with radicalised individuals.
Combatting radicalisation also means taking military action against terrorist sanctuaries abroad. International military action will continue against a clearly identified enemy: Daesh and Al Qaeda, which are operating in Syria, Iraq and the Sahel. “The Islamic State is losing ground”, said the Prime Minister, who remains cautious since “we know that we face an evolving threat, which may change front, or change its tactics”.
Preventing RadicalisationSchools are on the front line in terms of taking early action to prevent radicalisation. “Monitoring of independent private schools and home schooling will continue and will be stepped up”, Manuel Valls said. Culture also plays a key role in the face of radicalisation, since it acts against “obscurantism and brain-washing”. In addition, “education via the media needs to be scaled up, since it is the best weapon against conspiracy theories”.
Action will be enabled by a package of sector-specific measures, ministry by ministry, each contributing its own professional culture, networks and know-how.
Dealing with Radicalised Individuals and Individuals in the Process of Radicalisation
1,600 young people and 800 families affected by radicalisation are currently being managed appropriately by the prefectural monitoring units of the regions in which they live. Police, teachers and social workers have learned to share their information and pool their actions.
The new plan aims to double capacity for dealing with radicalised individuals within the next two years. This will entail expanding the national management system. The staff of the Interministerial Committee for Crime Prevention and – as from today – Radicalisation (Comité interministériel de prévention de la délinquance et de la radicalisation), will be increased.
The Interministerial Fund for Crime Prevention (FIPD - Fonds interministériel de prévention de la délinquance) had already been granted an additional €60 million over a three-year period. This amount will be increased to €100 million in order to finance certain new measures contained in the plan. The remaining measures will be financed within the framework of Budget Acts, out of ministerial budgets.
Citizenship and Rehabilitation Centres
By 2017, all of the regions will be equipped with long-term accommodation centres for radicalised individuals. The first “Citizenship and Rehabilitation Centre” will open this summer. These centres will cater for individuals “of whose sincerity and desire for long-term rehabilitation we are convinced”, Manuel Valls said.
“The public services managed by local and regional authorities have a key role to play in treating some radicalised individuals”, the Prime Minister explained. He therefore announced a day of engagement and dialogue with local authorities designed to bolster joint initiatives with the State.
Promoting research and developing counter-arguments
However, as well as immediate measures to deal with the terrorist threat, it is essential to analyse all mechanisms that lead to withdrawal into radicalisation. “This involves broad fields of analysis: social, sociological and psychological. It is the role of the State to provide public research with the means of investing in what is still a pioneering field of study, through the creation of posts and the awarding of research grants, as well as the creation of an Academic Committee. However, it is also in the interests of the State to capitalise fully on the knowledge thus acquired in order to devise, assess and improve policies for dealing with radicalisation. The plan therefore incorporates initiatives of this kind”, the Prime Minister said.
The action plan against radicalisation and terrorism establishes an overall strategy: it acts both upstream, in order to prevent, detect and track radicalisation, and downstream, in order to combat it. In short, it takes action to protect the French people. Manuel Valls – 9 May 2016
The fight against radicalisation is also waged at the level of ideas and values. Apart from “reinforcing partnerships with the internet giants, so they can help us stop the dissemination of filmed propaganda”, we also need to ensure that the voices of France’s Islamic community are heard; they need to “speak even more loudly than they do today. As I have already said: there is an ideological battle within Islam itself. And we will always stand alongside those who advocate peaceful action and support the values of the Republic”, the Prime Minister said.
Protecting the French People“This plan takes action to protect the French people” explained Manuel Valls, who raised awareness of the still imminent danger “from a threat which, let there be no doubt, will strike again […] in the age of hyper-terrorism.” Indeed, the DGSI (French Directorate General for Domestic Security) notes that “since 2013, three terrorist attacks have failed, and 15 planned attacks have been foiled”, he said.
The protection of sensitive sites (major points of transit such as stations and airports, Seveso-classified sites, etc.) is an essential aspect of the strategy. It mobilises numerous police officers and soldiers, including 7,000 within the framework of Operation Sentinelle. The action plan sets out the package of measures implemented in order to prevent radicalised individuals from accessing sites of this kind. Administrative investigations, referred to as “screening”, will be stepped up and regularly updated. Several of these reinforced mechanisms will come into operation this summer, with heightened vigilance during the Euro 2016 tournament.
The Prime Minister also emphasised the aspect of care for victims. The plan’s concrete measures in this field will be put in place before the end of the year.
We need to review our engagement doctrines and our civil security plans. Alerting the population, training stakeholders, ensuring that we have the capacity to react even more quickly, caring for victims: the entire crisis management chain has to be adapted.