The Bulan Institute participated in the United Nations side event, Central Asian experience with individuals returned from Syria and Iraq, organized by the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNCCT/UNOCT) jointly with the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA). The event discussed successes, challenges and lessons learned from the Central Asian experience with individuals returned from Syria and Iraq.
In his welcoming statement, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, highlighted that supporting Member States in taking action in this regard is a top priority for the United Nations system under the leadership of Secretary-General Guterres. Indeed, the United Nations has been playing a crucial role in norm building and mobilizing efforts in dealing with foreign fighters. Security Council resolutions, particularly resolutions 2178 and 2396, call upon Member States to cooperate in their efforts to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighter returnees, relocators and their accompanying family members.
“Protecting, repatriating, prosecuting, rehabilitating and reintegrating individuals with alleged links to UN-listed terrorist groups is a critical concern for many countries around the world,” said Mr. Vladimir Voronkov. In his statement, Mr. Voronkov highlighted the work that has been done by the Bulan Institute. While discussing event panelists, he also mentioned the Bulan Institute and expressed his appreciation for the work of the Institute. “This will be followed by an intervention by a representative of the Bulan Institute, a civil society organization doing excellent research on the issue of repatriation in Central Asia. I met with the representatives of this civil society organization on the margins of the Vienna Conference on FTFs and I was very impressed by their work in this regard,” said Mr. Voronkov.
The Bulan Institute was invited to speak at the event regarding the role of civil society in the repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign fighters. Cholpon Orozobekova, the Director of the Bulan Institute, spoke about the experiences of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. She shared her observations regarding how women-led organizations played a crucial role in the rehabilitation and reintegration processes. “There are many good practices to learn from Central Asian experiences. For example, many civil society organizations in Kazakhstan were widely integrated into development, design, and implementation of rehabilitation, reintegration and resocialization processes. I would like to highlight the crucial role of the women-led organizations in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Women leaders such as Olga Ryl, Gulnaz Rasdykova, Lola Shakirova, and Oliya Ilmuradova, Nazifa Kamolova, Malika Dodoeva have been working hard from the first day of the arrival of the very first group of individuals repatriated from Syria. They met them in the plane and since then they have been accompanying returnees helping them to deal with psychological, legal, social and other problems,” said Cholpon Orozobekova.
She stated that the experiences of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are very unique. “We need to help them further to implement rehabilitation and at the same time to learn from them” said Mrs Orozobekova. She underscored that the Bulan Institute will continue studying their experiences and sharing best practices with other countries and the international community in Geneva.