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The ICT4Peace Foundation was invited to participate in a validation meeting around a study, led by UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Geneva Academy on countering violent extremism and terrorism online, freedom of expression and the right to privacy. The full day meeting was held on 25th May 2016 at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Villa Moynier, Geneva.

Sanjana Hattotuwa represented the Foundation at the meeting. His work in Asia, notably in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, has over many years addressed through rigorous monitoring, research and counter-speech, the rise of violent extremism and religious fundamentalism. The Foundation's work around P/CVE (Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism) is well documented and involves pioneering initiatives with the United Nations system and the private sector (including companies like Facebook).

The agenda of the meeting, held under the Chatham House Rule, can be accessed here.

The Foundation made several substantive points to the draft report tabled at the meeting around, inter alia, the rule of law, strong encryption and the impact of a democratic deficit towards the freedom of expression. The Foundation also flagged the significant risks of supporting CVE or simplistically engaging in P/CVE initiatives, for example, around the dangerous co-option of local civil society, leading to the worst of outcomes despite the best of intentions. We also made several points about intermediary liabilities and the role of telcos and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the arch of surveillance and P/CVE initiatives.

In addition, after the workshop and supporting points made during it, Sanjana emailed the lead authors a comprehensive list of links around news articles, research and updates that had an impact on the substantive content of the report - strengthening key points and flagging new ones that needed to be included.

In February this year, the Foundation was invited to write to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding best practices and lessons learned on how protecting and promoting human rights contribute to preventing and countering violent extremism. A substantive note was submitted and will be incorporated in the production of material around this topic by the OHCHR in the future.