- Publication date
- 9 July 2021
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
- RAN Publications Topic
- Foreign Terrorist Fighters and their families
The RAN virtual study visit to Central Asia took place on 25-26 May 2021 and brought together 30 European and Central Asian practitioners from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The goal of the workshop was to share knowledge and exchange challenges and inspiring practices in the field of repatriation, disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration (RDRR) of violent Islamist extremist offenders, returning foreign terrorist fighters (RFTFs) and their families.
The Central Asian presenters and participants represented a wide variety of professional backgrounds, including civil society organisations (CSOs), international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and academics.
During the study visit, a particular focus was given to understand the importance of political will and support in order for practitioners to do what is needed, legal issues in relation to prosecution and documentation, the role of the family, and the preparation of the receiving communities. The meeting also explored the role of international organisations and how they can support and coordinate the work of RDRR for both practitioners and policymakers.
The highlights of the discussions and recommendations are listed in this conclusion paper, with amongst others:
- The importance of the political choices, will, and support in relation to shaping the public opinion, reducing stigmatisation and creating the legal and practical conditions for reintegration.
- Addressing legal issues on documentation early on. If the returnee cannot obtain legal documents, it could hinder the efficiency of reintegration efforts.
- The importance of family in RDRR. The key component of Central Asia´s reintegration approach is to give psychosocial empowerment to the receiving families’ who are the cornerstones of the RDRR process. The receiving families are the source of financial, social and emotional support and they provide accommodation to the returning families.
- Preparing the receiving (religious) communities was a key element of the RDRR process in the region. Psychologists and social workers are central parts of the preparation by providing psychoeducation, psychosocial support, and instrumental help.
The paper will start by covering the highlights from the presentations and discussions, followed by recommendations building on the Central Asian experiences that are relevant for European practitioners. Lastly, the paper will share promising practices and further readings.