Victims of Terrorism – Tenth European Day on Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 persons and injured at least 1800 people commuting to work. Ten years later, the physical and mental wounds of the victims who survived are still not healed. The European Union has devoted 11th March to remembering all victims of terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Terrorism can strike anywhere and at any time. The EU stands firmly against and condemns all terrorist acts.
On the tenth European Day on Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism, Cecilia Malmström Commissioner for Home Affairs said:
“On the tenth anniversary of the Madrid bombing attacks, we express our sympathy and solidarity with all victims of terrorism, their families and friends. Our thoughts also turn towards all victims in the world. Victims and their families carry the scars of terrorist acts and need our continued and consistent support. Survivors of terrorist attacks and family members of victims who have lost their lives can also be important partners to address problems of security and to build a more resilient society. They are credible voices to challenge the violent extremists’ narratives and they can be a precious help to counter the efforts of terrorists to recruit new members and to radicalise our youth. By doing so, they contribute to a more tolerant and open society”.
In November 2010, the Commission adopted the EU Strategy on Internal Security which identifies key priorities and actions to make Europe more secure. One of the major issues to address when fighting against terrorism is the growing problem of violent extremism and radicalisation.
Recognising that such phenomenon can be best contained at a level closest to the vulnerable individuals in the most affected communities, the Commission launched in September 2011 the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network. The RAN supports first-line local practitioners involved in preventing radicalisation and violent extremism across the EU, and facilitates the exchange of experiences and best practices amongst them.
Victims of terrorism play an important role in this network, with a dedicated working group (on Voices of Victims of Terrorism). Its objective is to make the voices of the victims heard, their positive values understood and their role empowered. More specifically, it highlights the concrete consequences of violent radicalisation on a human scale and uses this for prevention and deradicalisation.
The Commission also provides funding to projects and projects and actions for the aid and protection of the victims of terrorism.
Furthermore, on 15 January 2014, the Commission identified 10 areas in which Member States and the EU are called to reinforce their actions to prevent all types of extremism that leads to violence. The support to victims of terrorism is one of these areas (more on ec.europa.eu).