In this report we provide a critical account of the emergence of CVE policies and analyze their subsequent institutionalisation within three international bodies: the European Union, the United Nations, and the Global Counterterrorism Forum. While these frameworks were shaped primarily by western states, their international diffusion raises the prospect, as Steven Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA put it, of repressive governments “taking advantage of ‘CVE-mania’” and “using international funding to violate human rights in the absence of appropriate safeguards”.
It is important to stress, however, that these violations and abuses are every bit as present in Western states themselves. As such the problem as we see it is not simply one of democratic states exporting coercive policies to less democratic ones, but rather one of supranational organisations – including those with human rights mandates at their core – legitimising these problematic approaches by adopting them uncritically.
The final sections of the report contain conclusions and recommendations stemming from our research, including a framework we have developed to analyze the legitimacy of national CVE policies through their impact on fundamental rights and democratic and pluralist aspirations.