OSCE hosts expert dialogue on good practices in addressing return of foreign terrorist fighters, including age- and gender-sensitive approaches

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Good practices in the treatment of foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) returnees, including age and gender-sensitive approaches, was the focus of an expert dialogue organized online by the OSCE’s Action against Terrorism Unit jointly with OSCE field operations in Central Asia from 15 to 17 September 2021.

The event brought together government and international experts, academics, policy-makers and civil society from across the OSCE area, who discussed the treatment of FTFs, including their prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration. Particular emphasis was placed on the experiences of the OSCE’s Central Asian participating States.

Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan, Shodikhon Dzhamshed, explained the importance of establishing cooperation among relevant ministries and organizations, including partnerships with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the OSCE. He expressed confidence that “Tajikistan will continue its efforts to ensure the successful reintegration of repatriates from conflict zones back into society”.

The three-day event provided participants with an overview of the situation that women and children associated with terrorist groups face in different regions of the OSCE, and how they came to join these groups. Discussions addressed the importance of gender-responsive programmes and individually tailored approaches to helping returning women disengage and reintegrate into society.

The seminar also addressed the need to provide age-sensitive support in rehabilitating and reintegrating FTF-affiliated children and juvenile offenders.

"It may take us several years to fully reintegrate people into society. We should be ready to accompany them on every step of this difficult path,“ said Oliya Ilmuradova, Director of Barkaror Hayot, a non-governmental organization working closely with the Ministry for Support of Makhalla and Family of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The event followed on previous exchanges by OSCE participating States and the international community during the 2020 High-level Regional Conference on Foreign Terrorist Fighters organized by the OSCE, Switzerland and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism. It also built on a number of OSCE and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights guidebooks including Non-custodial Rehabilitation and Reintegration (2020) and Addressing the Threats and Challenges of “Foreign Terrorist Fighters” within a Human Rights Framework (2018).

Source: OSCE