Practical Approaches to Protect Children Returned from Conflict Zones in focus at UNODC Virtual Workshop in Tajikistan

29-30 March 2021 – In partnership with the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT)/UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), UNODC conducted a two-day training for legal practitioners and representatives from government ministries on how to assist children returned from conflict zones. It focused on the importance of considering both the legal and psychosocial factors when supporting the rehabilitation and reintegration of children affected by the FTF phenomenon.


Since April 2019, some 84 children under the age of 18 were returned to the Republic of Tajikistan from conflict zones. Some of them had been taken to conflict zones by their parents, while others were born in them.

The workshop provided participants with tailored approaches and practical guidance to implement effective and comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration strategies adapted to the needs of children affected by the Foreign Terrorist Fighter (FTF) phenomenon.

The training sessions were delivered by Ms. Dayan Farias Picon, UNODC Legal Officer, and Ms. Valerie Chmara, UNODC Psychosocial Support Specialist, who provided practical guidance on child-sensitive communication as well as age-, gender- and victim-sensitive approaches and measures, in order to mitigate the risks of re-traumatization and secondary victimization while interacting with child returnees.

“Children’s needs are complex as childhood is a period of ongoing physical, psychological and emotional development”, says Ms. Dayan Farias Picon. “As a result, children’s experiences, relationships and environment can have a deep influence on the child’s developmental process and may play a considerable role in shaping their lives and therefore, special care and attention are necessary to foster their harmonious development. Considering all of this, being aware of the potential lifelong impacts of violence on children, families, communities, and nations, is critical in order to design effective and child-sensitive reintegration plans”.


 Ms. Farias Picon stresses that reintegration is a complex transitional process, which often requires the child to assume a new identity: from living in a conflict zone and/or as part of a terrorist group, to becoming a constructive citizen, able to manage relationships peacefully. “It can be difficult, demands time and long-term investments, but it is possible”, she concludes.

The event was also an opportunity to highlight the importance of working with the children’s families, communities and media, in order to prepare them to welcome these children back and assist them to overcome potential stigma as well as ensure a protective environmental framework that is conducive to their reintegration into society.

This virtual workshop built on extensive work that UNODC has undertaken through its Global Programme to End Violence against Children, as well as efforts made in the region to support Member States in addressing the FTF phenomenon.

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


For more information, kindly contact (Ms.) Vasilina Brazhko

UNODC ROCA Communication and PR Specialist, at:

 +996775987817 WhatsApp or by e-mail:

vasilina.brazhko [at]