UNODC and Prison Service of Tajikistan co-operate to address Foreign Terrorist Fighters Threats in Prison 

Violent extremism is an affront to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. It undermines peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. No country or region is immune from its impact. Over 2000 Tajik men traveled to conflict zones to engage in terrorist acts, bringing their families – women and children. Tajikistan increases efforts to counter violent extremism and terrorism, however, an associated challenge has gained importance and urgency: how to manage violent extremists in prison settings.


In this context, the United States Department of State provided financial contribution to UNODC to implement the two-year “Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters Detention Programme”. The programme serves the aim to  provide technical assistance to the Prison Service of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan, in order to address radicalization to violence and violent extremism in prison settings.

Representatives of the UNODC and the Prison Service of Tajikistan  attended the signing ceremony of the Programme Work Plan and  discussed emerging threats posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and effective policies on management of violent extremism prisoners, prevention of progression to violent extremism in prisons and interventions.

“UNODC is pleased to launch the implementation of Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters Detention Programme in cooperation with Prison Service of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan with generous support of United States of America, CT Bureau of US Department of State. It is gratifying to note that the country work plan will address some of the significant areas enshrined in new national prison reform strategy”, said Mr. Mustafa Erten, Head of the UNODC Programme office in Tajikistan.

According to Mr. Mansur Umarov, Head of the Prison Service of the Republic of Tajikistan:  “Counter-extremism and rehabilitation programs have the best chance of succeeding when they are nested in a safe, secure, adequately resourced, and well operated custodial setting where the human rights of prisoners are respected. Prison Service of Tajikistan acknowledges the importance of addressing challenges posed by violent extremist prisoners in full compliance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treat of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) and other relevant international standards and norms, including from a gender perspective”.

The Country Work Plan was designed based on scoping mission results which outlined challenges, needs and priorities of the penitentiary system of Tajikistan, including security and safety needs in terms of a refinement of security procedures, regulations and protocols, the implementation of tailored rehabilitation programmes, the training of prison officers on the management of terrorist and FTF prisoners and the introduction of required security upgrades and/or the procurement of equipment.

This program will enhance the Republic of Tajikistan capacity to manage threats posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) through technical assistance to law enforcement, corrections, and justice sector agencies and, by so doing, encourage partners’ cooperation in repatriating their FTF nationals in custody. UNODC seeks to enhance the Republic of Tajikistan capacity to manage and mitigate the threat of terrorist and FTF prisoners utilizing international corrections best practice including classification and case management, contraband control, access control between cells and prison buildings, and development of intake processes.  The program will build on implementation of international commitments made through the adoption of  resolution 2396 (2017),  , consistent with the UN Minimum Standrad Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules), international humanitarian law and human rights law, as applicable and in accordance with relevant international law.

The project seeks also to develop tailored and gender-sensitive strategies to address and counter terrorist narratives within the prison system.

Head of the Prison Service of the Republic of Tajikistan and Head of UNODC Programme Office in Tajikistan endorsed the Country Work Plan that includes key areas of UNODC’s assistance, including strengthening the capacity of prison staff, managing risks posed by violent extremist prisoners, enhancing the inter-agency and regional co-operation and implementing of prison-based disengagement interventions, and others.

After the fall of the so-called Islamic State, camps contain of women and children from Tajikistan who are waiting for their chance to return home. Given the tribute to the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, they returned some 84 children from Iraq back in 2019.



For all inquiries, contact Vasilina Brazhko (Ms.)

Communication and PR Specialist

UNODC in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

+(996) 775987817 WhatsApp / Cell phone

vasilina.brazhko [at]