UNODC Supports Guidance on Mental Health Considerations for the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Foreign Terrorist Fighter Returnees from Iraq and Syria

The field of preventing and countering violent extremism has seen increasing calls for multi-agency coordination and responses. The area of mental health is no exception: practitioners, policymakers and researchers are increasingly exploring the relationship between mental illness and violent extremism leading to terrorism.  

For these reasons, UNODC is currently developing a series of e-learning tools to raise awareness on the linkages between violent extremism, terrorism and mental health - with a particular focus on analyzing trends of foreign terrorist fighter returnees and their families.

Furthermore, UNODC, in partnership with the Law Enforcement Academy within the Prosecutor-General's Office of Kazakhstan, is delivering two online webinars on the subject matter. The first webinar took place on 13 November 2020 and the second one will be held on 4 December 2020. The webinars gather government officials and representatives from civil society organizations and academia to encourage multidisciplinary whole-of-government approaches to violent extremism leading to terrorism, as well as its interplay with mental health.

These webinars come as part of UNODC’s critical effort to support Central Asian Member States in the successful rehabilitation of foreign terrorist fighters and their families. The activities were delivered under the framework of the PVE Network that UNODC helped to establish for the region in 2018. Not only does this platform bring together professionals in the region to take coordinated action against violent extremism leading to terrorism but also supports building the region’s resilience to effectively prevent and counter violent extremism leading to terrorism.

This effort is further underscored by United Nations Security Council resolution 2396 (2017) which urges Member States to develop tailored rehabilitation and reintegration strategies for foreign terrorist fighters, their families and their children.

The activities and e-learning modules were developed under the framework of UNODC’s project on preventing and responding to terrorism and violent extremism in Central Asia, funded by the Government of Germany.