Tajikistan: high-level int’l conference focuses on countering terrorism, extremism

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — Consolidating efforts at the regional and international levels to counter violent extremism and radicalization was the focus of a two-day high-level conference, which concluded on May 4 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The conference, entitled “Countering Terrorism and Preventing Violent Extremism”, was organized by the Government of Tajikistan in co-operation with the OSCE, the United Nations, and the European Union.

Foreign ministers of Central Asian participating States and Afghanistan, as well as high-level officials from other countries, representatives of regional and international organizations, civil society, research institutions and diplomatic missions accredited to Tajikistan took part in the conference. The event concluded with a declaration adopted by states participating in the conference.

The OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe worked closely with the OSCE Secretariat’s Transnational Threats Department and Conflict Prevention Centre to assist Tajikistan in the organization of this event.

In his opening remarks, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger noted that the OSCE encourages a nuanced approach to countering violent extremism and radicalization, which balances legitimate security concerns with ensuring full respect for human rights. “Law enforcement measures alone cannot defeat terrorism and violent extremism, without parallel efforts being invested in prevention. Indiscriminate counter-terrorism policies can alienate segments of the population, which could lead to violent extremism and radicalization,” Greminger said. He added that to be successful, “such prevention efforts must be rooted in a whole-of-society approach”.

In this spirit, with the support of the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe, Tajikistan has established Public Councils in various regions to engage police and communities at the local level and strengthen co-operation between them.

Referring to the assistance provided to Tajikistan’s efforts in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism, the Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe, Tuula Yrjölä, said: “It is critical to understand why individuals are willing to commit their lives to a violent extremist cause and thus to work out the most effective solutions for addressing and mitigating the grievances pushing them in that direction.”

In addition to its work on preventing violent extremism and radicalization, the OSCE also continues to offer its assistance in strengthening international legal co-operation in terrorism cases. It also provides support to efforts to prevent the financing of terrorism, counter the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, protect critical energy infrastructure, and safeguard human rights in counter-terrorism investigations.

The OSCE will continue to offer its expertise in developing comprehensive, nuanced and co-ordinated responses to terrorism and violent extremism to its partners in Tajikistan, as well as in other Central Asian countries.

Sergey Kwan

TCA