The MEDEA project has organised the conference “EU Borders Security: Acting Ahead across Research, Practice, and Policy” on 27-28 September at the ISDEFE headquarters in Madrid. The conference is attended by experts from within and outside the consortium and is aimed at professionals involved in security.
Over two days, the conference will address the complexity of the European Union’s internal and external borders, which must allow for the efficient movement of people and goods while continuously filtering threats and ensuring security. The EU’s responsibility must evolve to adapt to the constantly changing geopolitical environment and threat landscape, and this requires promoting a constant exchange between cutting-edge research and innovation, strategy and policy planning, implementation on the ground, and engagement at regional, national and EU level.
The conference develops different sessions focusing on topics such as hybrid threats and border management; evolving interoperability challenges; and the key role of practitioners in security research. As part of the conference, a guided tour of CECORVIGMAR, the Guardia Civil’s Maritime Coastal and Border Surveillance Coordination Centre, is planned.
On the second day, Thursday 28th, Euro-Arab researcher Karen Hough will address the session on the common path between security policy and research. This session will discuss the ongoing challenge of aligning policy planning with research work which, in addition to considering the realities on the ground, needs to anticipate emerging trends and project action into the future. Also participating in this forum on behalf of the Euro-Arab Foundation will be Jose María González Riera, Deputy Director of the Euro-Arab Foundation’s Department of Research and Projects.
MEDEA aims to develop a regional network of security practitioners and actors in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region by forming a critical mass of security and humanitarian experts and actors to cooperate with multidisciplinary entities from other countries and to present their needs as inputs to the Mediterranean and Black Sea Security Research and Innovation Programme.
This project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon H2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The consortium is led by the KEMEA Centre for Security Studies in Greece and consists of 19 partners from different European countries. More information about the project on its website: https://medea-project.eu/
The project “STAND-UP: Standing up against hate in the EU” held on 26 September at the headquarters of the Euro-Arab Foundation in Granada a specialised training for professionals on hate crimes and hate speech, with the participation of experts from different fields in four thematic blocks: “The phenomenon of hate and under-reporting: a victim-centred approach”; “Narratives of hate in digital contexts”; “Alternative narratives from civil society”; and “Tools for social transformation”.
The course was attended by professionals from the fields of education and social work, psychology, community mediation, research and the National Police Force, and with the participation of different entities such as CEAR, Save The Children, CEPAIM Foundation, Asociación Marroquí and Granada Acoge, among many others.
The director of the Euro-Arab Foundation’s European Projects, Javier Ruipérez Canales, welcomed the participants and opened the training, which began with a presentation by the director of the Instituto Confucio of the University of Granada, Isabel María Balsas Ureña, and her co-director, Bu Shan, on the role of the Institute and the activities they carry out to raise awareness of Chinese culture in society.
The researcher and project technician of the Euro-Arab Foundation, Lucía G. del Moral, was in charge of moderating the day, giving way to the first block on the phenomenon of hatred and under-reporting with a victim-centred approach, and to the first speaker, Ismael Cortés, Member of Congress in the 14th legislature, and his conference on access to justice and the different initiatives to tackle hate crimes from a multi-stakeholder and multi-level approach.
She was followed by María Pina and Marina Dólera from Columbares with the presentation of the project “Está en tu mano” (It’s in your hand) and a wealth of data and analysis to understand in depth the current situation regarding hate crimes. The third presentation of the block was given by Bárbara Pérez Serrano, health psychologist, expert in gender violence and coordinator of FUNCOP (Foundation for the Training and Practice of Psychology), who explained the group psychological care services for women victims of gender violence that exist in Andalusia, and how the processes of reporting and the causes of under-reporting are.
The theme of the second block was the narratives of hate in digital contexts. Carmen Aguilera Carnenero, PhD from the University of Granada, shared her analysis of the power of dissemination of Islamophobic hate speech through memes. Next, researchers from the Euro-Arab Foundation José Luis Salido and Lucía G. del Moral explained the monitoring of hate they carried out in the framework of the STAND-UP project on the extreme right on 20-N and Islamophobia in social networks during the World Cup in Qatar.
The third block dealt with the alternative narratives proposed by civil society. Vanesa Martín, head of projects and new narratives at Fundación Por Causa, explained how they generate new narrative frameworks on migrations that connect with audiences and change public debate. Javier Vaquero, artist and LGTBI+ activist, presented ‘La Intersección’, a research and digital strategy team dedicated to creating collective narratives and tools to stop hate on social networks.
The last block was dedicated to tools for social transformation. Óscar Negredo, coordinator of the Community Mediation service of the Llobregat City Council of Hospitalet, where they apply multi-agency strategies for the prevention of violent extremism, creating spaces to promote understanding between groups and communities, took part in it. The National Police Inspector and Delegate for Citizen Participation of the Granada Provincial Police Station, María José Ramírez Campos, also spoke, explaining the promotion and awareness-raising work carried out by this specialised unit to prevent hate crimes. The last presentation was given by Jero Varas, project technician of the Melilla Acoge Association, on the project ‘OWO: Defending the space of coexistence’ focused on the prevention of attitudes and behaviours that encourage hate speech and hate crimes.
The day ended with the presentation of the book ‘The Moon is in Douala: And my destiny in knowledge’, in the form of a dialogue between its authorSani M. Ladan and Daniel F. Pérez, researcher at the Euro-Arab Foundation. During the conversation, they highlighted the prejudices and ignorance of European society about migratory phenomena, the lack of human quality that can be found in reception centres, the importance of having racialised references, the lack of protection of migrant children who are often used as a political tool, and the pan-African identity, among other interesting reflections.
This training takes place within the European STAND-UP project, the main objective of which is to improve inter-agency cooperation in the fight against hate crime through the design, development and implementation of a new inter-agency model led by public authorities.
STAND-UP project is co-funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Justice and Consumers. More information on the STAND-UP website and its activities on LinkedIn.
The conference “EU Borders Security: Acting Ahead across Research, Practice, and Policy” will be held on 27th and 28th September in Madrid (Spain) in the framework of the MEDEA project. This two-day event aims to point out the current challenges and necessities in this relevant subject that requires constant exchange among edge research and innovation, strategy, policy planning and implementation on the ground, involving stakeholders at regional, national, and EU level.
This activity is addresed to the professionals and all the security-related actors. The conference is structured with the following focus sessions:
Hybrid Threats & Border management,
Evolving interoperability Challenges,
Practitioners’ Key Role in Security Research
Looking Forward: A common path between Security Policy and Security Research
What is more, a guided visit to the CECORVIGMAR, Spanish Guardia Civil Coordination Centre for Maritime Surveillance of Coasts and Borders, is also scheduled to take place in the context of the conference.
This project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon H2020 – Research and Innovation Framework Programme. The consortium is led by the Center for Security Studies KEMEA from Greece and formed by 19 partners from different european countries, including the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies from Spain.
In a panel held this morning dedicated to the MIRAD project, Josep García Coll, researcher at the Euro-Arab Foundation, and Mariyan Sabev and Darina Sarafova, from the Centre for the Study of Democracy, presented a paper on ‘Assessine risk of violent extremism in prison and probation contexts’, focusing on the development of risk assessment tools, specifically for violent radicalisation of the extreme right and jihadist radicalisation.
The presentation outlined the main elements and risk indicators to be taken into account when carrying out risk assessments of people convicted of violent extremism offences. The development of these tools is motivated by the needs of professionals working on the front line with people deprived of liberty or who are moving towards probation or parole. The differentiation in the tools used according to the ideologies mentioned will improve the design and implementation of existing rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and thus achieve better results in the disengagement and reintegration into society of these persons.
Regarding right-wing extremism, research shows that the main risk factors include social marginalisation, perceived threats to traditional values, belief in conspiracy theories, anti-immigrant sentiment, political and social polarisation, economic insecurity, and exposure to extremist networks.
With respect to jihadist violent extremism, recent literature shows that the main risk factors are related to feelings of community grievances, complete distrust of the government and institutions, perceived ingroup superiority and other psycho-social factors like narcissism, sensation-seeking, cognitive closure or social alienation, amongst others.
The other two presentations held at EUROCRIM focused on ‘Training prison, probation and community staff on radicalisation and violent extremism: Results from a cross-sectoral and mixed-method training initiative‘ by IPS (Innovative Prison Systems) and on ‘Interinstitutional collaboration towards successful disengagement and social reintegration of violent and terrorist offenders‘ developed by the Centre for the Study of Democracy.
The MIRAD project (Multi-ideological Radicalisation Assessment towards Disengagement) is funded by the European Commission’s Internal Security Fund. The consortium is coordinated by the Emerging Security and Defence Team of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts in France (le cnam) and includes partners from Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria, France, Greece and Belgium, as well as the Euro-Arab Foundation in Spain.
The UNCHAINED project is holding its final conference on Tuesday 25 July at the headquarters of the Agenfor agency in Milan (Italy) after three and a half years in operation. The conference, which is open to the public in an online format, will be attended by public authorities such as Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), judges and prosecutors.
During the day, the digital techniques developed by UNCHAINED to analyse and investigate the economic footprint that Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) leaves in cyberspace will be presented, thus improving participants’ skills to prevent and intercept trafficking more effectively.
The event will begin with a welcome address by Agenfor director Sergio Bianchi, who will give way to the intervention of Deputy Prosecutor of Padova Silvia Golin on International Cooperation on THB. This will be followed by the intervention of the Deputy Prosecutor of Venice, Lucia D’Alessandro, who will focus on her investigative experience on the Nigerian mafia and cultists.
The day will continue with a practical session on how to use the FAST platform to analyse the THB pathway led by the CEO of MBS Engineering Mauro Manolo Belmonte, and the presentations by Emanuele Florindi, Information Technology lawyer, on how to apply the money tracking approach in cyberspace, as well as Yuval Sanders, CEO of the software development company Falkor, who will speak on public-private cooperation for THB prevention. The conference will conclude with a round table on action patterns, pathways and synergies to prevent and counter human trafficking, with the participation of Venice, Padova and Milan prosecutors, police officers from Venice and THB researcher at John Hopkins University in the United States, Alexandra Malangone.
Since the start of 2023, the UNCHAINED project has delivered ‘Trainings for Trainers’ in the cities of Padua and Venice (Italy); in Athens (Greece); in Murcia (Spain) and in Bremen (Germany). Public authorities from all over Europe have thus benefited from these practical trainings where they have learned how to use the OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), HUMINT (Human Intelligence), SIGINT (Signals Intelligence), Big Data and FAST technology platforms for data analysis and human traffic monitoring. The training also included immersions in virtual reality and theoretical knowledge on the national and European human trafficking legal framework.
During this time UNCHAINED has also created a network of experts for the promotion of public-private cooperation between public authorities and private technology companies, which has been a success as significant synergies have been created, for example with the Local Police of Murcia.
The UNCHAINED project is funded by the European Commission under the Internal Security Fund – Police. The Consortium is coordinated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Padua and formed by the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies (Spain), the AGENFOR International Agency (Italy), the Center for Security Studies KEMEA (Greece) and the School of Public Administration (HfÖV) of Bremen (Germany).
The Euro-Arab Foundation is taking part in the annual conference organised by the Society Terrorism Research, which this year will be held in Lisbon on 20 and 21 July, organised by the University Institute of Lisbon – ISCTE.
The 15th annual international conference, which is presented under the generic title Terrorism Research in a Polarised World, has speakers from all over the world and more than a hundred people registered who will be able to attend the wide range of topics that the Conference offers through the 22 round tables programmed.
The Euro-Arab Foundation’s participation in this scientific event focuses on the organisation of the round table discussion entitled The paradigms of the prevention of radicalisation, which will be held tomorrow, Thursday, July 20, within the framework of the international INTERRAD project on The internationalisation of the prevention of the phenomenon of violent radicalisation of a jihadist nature.
This session, led by the Vice-Rector for Internationalisation of the University of Granada, Inmaculada Marrero Rocha, and moderated by the Euro-Arab Foundation’s Executive Secretary and professor at the UGR, Antonio Sánchez Ortega, will address different aspects of the prevention of radicalisation:
The prevention of violent extremism from the 3N model of radicalisation by Manuel Moyano, from the University of Cordoba.
Bridging the Gap: Research on radicalisation and the problems of prevention, Javier Ruipérez Canales, Euro-Arab Foundation and University of Granada.
Radicalisation and deradicalisation in prison: moving towards a future paradigm, Salvador Berdún, Association of the Corps of the Administration of Penitentiary Institutions and University of Granada.
The challenges of risk assessment to improve the prevention of radicalisation, Josep Garcia Coll, Euro-Arab Foundation.
Impact of psychological and structural factors on radicalisation processes, Roberto M. Lobato, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.
With this recognition, the Murcia Police, host of the UNCHAINED training, highlights the good synergies that have occurred in the trainings that the Euro-Arab Foundation and Agenfor have developed this past Tuesday in Murcia, on July 11th, as well as in the training of trainers that took place last February in Venice, which they also attended.
This week’s training in Murcia covered topics such as European judicial cooperation in the fight against Trafficking in Human Beings (THB), as well as practical sessions on the use of the technological platforms OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), HUMINT (Human Intelligence) and FAST for data analysis and monitoring of THB. A specific section on Virtual Reality immersion has also been included.
Combating Trafficking in Human Beings with a money-tracing approach
The dynamic THB nature and the plurality and complexity of its forms make it particularly difficult to investigate. However, these highly lucrative crimes are very difficult to operate without leaving an economic footprint.
In this sense, the European UNCHAINED project aims to improve the capacity of experts and investigators operating within anti-trafficking, organised and financial crime investigation units to use financial enquiries and macro-data analysis in suspected cases of THB.
Training is also an important part of this project, and work has been done on the creation of a European network of experts and trainers who can maintain the training that has been carried out beyond the end of the project itself.
The UNCHAINED project, led by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Padua, is financed by the Internal Security Fund of the European Commission and its consortium is made up of members from Spain, Italy, Greece and Germany.
Photos: Communication – Local Police Murcia City Council.
The UNCHAINED project held yesterday 11 July a ‘Training of Trainers’ at the Artillery Barracks in the city of Murcia, organised by the Euro-Arab Foundation and the Murcia Police, where judicial, technological and investigative knowledge was imparted to Law enforcement agencies, especially the police corps.
Today, 12 July, the same venue is hosting a training session on BIGOSINT, a similar project to UNCHAINED, which aims to investigate human trafficking chain. The UNCHAINED project focuses on tracking the economic footprint of this highly lucrative crime, while BIGOSINT focuses on investigating human trafficking through Big Data analysis and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).
These trainings aim to improve the capacity of public authorities, law enforcement agencies and technology companies to identify suspicious financial activities and to achieve close public-private cooperation. Members of law enforcement agencies from countries such as Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are taking part, along with agents from different parts of the Murcia region in Spain.
The BIGOSINT training taking place today focuses, among other topics, on a police approach to Trafficking in Human Beings (THB), what are the different indicators and indications of a possible human trafficking crime and offers an operational approach to the verification of human trafficking documentation, as well as a practical analysis workshop for these documents.
Yesterday’s UNCHAINED training addressed European judicial cooperation in the fight against THB, led by the Prosecutor for Aliens and Human Trafficking Silvia Benito Reques together with Karen Latricia Hough, researcher at the Euro-Arab Foundation. There was also a practical training in which attendees learned how to use the OSINT and FAST platforms for data analysis and monitoring of human trafficking. The day ended with a Virtual Reality training. The technological block was given by FALKOR, MBS Engineering and AGENFOR.
The trainings follow on from the ‘Train the Trainers’ trainings’ held in the framework of the UNCHAINED project in the previous months in the cities of Padua and Venice in Italy and in Athens, Greece, with the next training next week in Bremen, Germany.
The UNCHAINED project, led by the Padova Public Prosecutor’s Office, is funded by the European Commission’s Internal Security Fund. Its Consortium is made up of the Euro-Arab Foundation, the AGENFOR Agency of Italy, the KEMEA Centre for Security Studies of Greece and the Bremen School of Public Administration, Germany.
The BIGOSINT project, led by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Trento, shares the same European funding as the UNCHAINED project. Consortium members are the AGENFOR Agency, the Bremen School of Public Administration and the Euro-Arab Foundation.
Photos: Communication – Local Police Murcia City Council.
On 30 May, the Euro-Arab Foundation hosted the presentation of the conclusions and recommendations of the MIRAD project (Multi-Ideological Radicalisation Assessment towards Disengagement), a closed-door meeting attended by leading professionals in the prevention of radicalisation and disengagement, belonging to security forces, NGOs and penitentiary institutions.
The conference began with the presentation of the project and the protocols of multi-agency cooperation in de-radicalisation and disengagement work in prison, probation and community contexts. This was followed by the presentation of tools for assessing the risk of radicalisation in the aforementioned contexts, together with the presentation of the tool developed for the assessment of competences and integrity for work in coordination with NGOs.
During this meeting, the invited professionals shared their considerations on the tool and the criteria presented by the project researchers, issuing a final assessment on the identified needs of frontline practitioners.
The partners of BIGOSINT, a project dedicated to the fight against Human Trafficking through Big Data and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) analysis, met on 22 June in Bremen, Germany, for a regular session where they updated on the progress of the different work packages and future activities.
The project, which started in January 2022 and will end in January next year, aims to improve investigations into human trafficking on the internet by analysing how the characteristics of the cyber environment affect the Human Trafficking chain. For that purpose, BIGOSINT combines technological tools such as OSINT and cryptocurrency analysis with the FAST platform to detect existing online markets and networks, collect human-rights compliant digital evidence, share information and develop enforcement countermeasures by leveraging on public-private partnership.
During the meeting there was a review of the project management and coordination carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Trento, coordinator of the project. Each member updated the status of the different work packages, such as the sustained service delivery led by HFÖV, the dissemination strategy, sustainability and transferability of BIGOSINT as well as the integrated FAST platform for cybercrime investigation, management and coordination, led by AGENFOR, or the work package led by the Euro-Arab Foundation, dedicated to understanding the investigation cycle of Human Trafficking. The session will end with an open debate and final conclusions.
Currently, training sessions are being jointly prepared in the framework of the BIGOSINT and UNCHAINED projects, which will take place on 11 and 12 of July in the city of Murcia, Spain, and on 19 July in Bremen, Germany, for law enforcement and judicial officers. The training consists of practical sessions where participants will be trained in the use of the technological tools OSINT and the FAST platform. In addition, a Virtual Reality immersion will be carried out to combat the chain of human trafficking in cyberspace.
After these trainings, the tools involved will be tested for 5 months by the security forces in order to implement them on a daily basis and thus improve their skills in the fight against trafficking in human beings.
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