UNODC webinar series focuses on the rehabilitation and reintegration of children affected by the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon in Kazakhstan

October 2020 – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held a series of online training events for more than 300 Kazakhstani professionals working to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of children returned from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.

These training events build on the extensive work that UNODC, through its Global Programme to End Violence against Children, has undertaken in support of Member States to ensure that children affected by terrorism are treated primarily as victims, and that the rehabilitation and reintegration of children is the primary aim of all interventions. To promote this goal, the Global Programme to End Violence against Children has provided technical assistance to over 35 countries in 6 different regions, and has developed a range of resources and tools on prevention and response to the recruitment and exploitation of children by terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Building on the strong partnership between UNODC and the Government of Kazakhstan, and with financial support from the Government of Germany, this workshop series offered tailored training sessions for ministerial officials and the broad range of professionals engaged in the rehabilitation and reintegration of Kazakhstani children returned from conflict zones.

Recognizing the role that complex trauma plays in the lives of children returned from conflict zones, the workshops highlighted the importance of a coordinated and multi-sectoral approach to ensure the provision of specialised trauma-informed care, tailored to the unique circumstances of each child. In her opening remarks, Ms. Ashita Mittal, noted:

“Children experience violence and neglect differently, and may face different and heightened consequences of hardship and trauma. They also have specific developmental, behavioural and social needs. Their situation deserves our attention and by recognizing their specificity we are safeguarding international law, which affords them special rights and protection.”

The training series comprised three workshops, held over three consecutive weeks in October. The first workshop provided ministerial representatives with the opportunity to focus on practical strategies to strengthen multi-sectoral coordination to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable approach to children who have returned from conflict zones. This workshop focused largely on cross-sectoral partnerships and considered the best means of ensuring that the legislation and policy developed at the national level is operationalised at the local level in support of each child. Participants also had the opportunity to focus on the importance of the development and implementation of a protocol for the collection, retention and sharing of data in a manner that also respects children’s privacy.

The second and third workshops were designed for the broad range of professionals that work on a daily basis to support children returned from conflict zones. These workshops focused on the importance of understanding a child’s context and strengthening the protective factors within a child’s environment in support of rehabilitation and reintegration. These online workshops also provided participants with practical strategies about child-, gender- and victim-sensitive communication, and the importance of creating meaningful opportunities for children’s voices to be heard. Over 300 professionals, including educators, social workers, psychologists, officers from local authorities, and representatives of community-based organizations attended the webinars.


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