Analysing Women’s Role in Terrorism in Southeast Asia

5 - 7 March 2024
Semarang, Indonesia

On March 5-7, the IIJ gathered 54 criminal justice practitioners, academics, nongovernmental organisations and others from Indonesia, Malaysia and The Philippines at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation in Semarang, Indonesia, for its inaugural Regional Summit: Analysing Women’s Role in Terrorism in Southeast Asia. Delegations from Indonesia, Malaysia and The Philippines joined partners from UNODC, GCERF and two of its grantee organisations, the FBI and the British High Commission to share new research, promising approaches and perennial challenges – including entrenched stereotypes -- to terrorism cases involving women.

Discussions spanned the lifecycle of women’s involvement in terrorism, starting with how they are radicalised to violent extremism and recruited into terrorist groups, including online, and their diverse motivations for joining and supporting or fighting. Debate then shifted to the increasingly central roles women are playing in those groups, including as recruiters, and how social, religious and cultural contexts influence those roles. Finally, participants considered how to gather evidence to support charges against women radicalised to violence, repatriate women from conflict zones, prosecute them for their roles, and ultimately deradicalize and reintegrate them back into society.

The initiative was sponsored by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. In the coming months, the IIJ hopes to offer similarly focused programs for other regions impacted by women’s involvement in violent extremist and terrorist groups, including East and West Africa, contextualized to the social, cultural and religious realities of each region.

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