Protecting Children from Terrorism: UNODC national workshop focuses on the rehabilitation and reintegration of children affected by the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon in Tajikistan

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a National Workshop, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Children Affected by The Foreign Terrorist Fighters Phenomenon, convening 21 ministerial officials and a broad range of professionals engaged in the rehabilitation and reintegration of Tajik children returned from conflict zones.

Building on the strong partnership between UNODC and the Government of Tajikistan, and with financial support from the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the workshop offered tailored training sessions to build on the extensive work that UNODC, through its Global Programme to End Violence against Children, has undertaken in support of Member States, including in the Central Asia region, to ensure that children associated with terrorist and violent extremist groups are treated primarily as victims, and that the rehabilitation and reintegration of children is the primary aim of all interventions.

Opening the workshop from Tashkent, Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, stated that terrorism continues to pose a major threat to international peace and security and undermines the core values of the United Nations around the world, including in the region. The world’s attention is turned towards the Middle East and much attention has been given to the situation of the women and children that have been held in various camps and detention facilities after the fall of the so-called Islamic State. Ms. Mittal highlighted that a significant proportion of those families originally came from Central Asia and congratulated the Government of Tajikistan for its leadership in facilitating the return of its citizens.

From New York, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, Mr. Vladimir Voronkov congratulated the Government of Tajikistan for its repatriation of 84 children from Iraq, which served as an example to the international community, and voiced hope for other countries to follow suit.

Recognizing the role that complex trauma plays in the lives of children returned from conflict zones, the workshop, aimed to support the government’s efforts with respect to the repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration of these children. 

Participants discussed the root causes of the phenomenon with UNODC experts, as well as practical strategies and tools to boost support for children through multi-disciplinary and coordinated approaches.

During the workshop, the discussions also focused on children’s developmental processes, the impact of violence on their well-being, key elements of comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration strategies and the importance of returning children to families and communities in line with the best interests of the child. As a result, participants reinforced their understanding of children's fundamental needs and strategies for effective responses.

Ms. Dayan Farias Picon, a Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer from UNODC’s Justice Section in Vienna who facilitated the training, highlighted that being aware of the potential lifelong impacts of violence on children, families, communities, and nations as well as children’s brain development is critical in order to design effective and child-sensitive reintegration plans. (Read more in interview with Ms. Dayan Farias Picon).

At the end of the event, UNODC offered its support to continue supporting and building capacity of the professionals and institutions performing this essential work.

For further background on the UNODC approach to this phenomenon, please view the UNODC Roadmap on the Treatment of Children Associated with Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups.


Эта статья на русском.

For additional information, please address:

Vasilina Brazhko,

Communication and Public Relations Specialist

UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia

Mobile: +996775987817 (WhatsApp)

E-mail: vasilina.brazhko[at]