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GCTF: Addressing the Challenge of Returning Families of Foreign Terrorist Fighters

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A virtual workshop organised by the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group focused on how to address challenges relating to returning families and integrating policy and practice in the Central Asia region.

In October, the Strong Cities Network Management Unit participated in the workshop focused on the GCTF Good Practices on Addressing the Challenge of Returning Families of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs): Workshop to Integrate Policy and Practice for the Central Asia Region.

Led by Jordan and the United States, the GCTF FTF Working Group used the event as an opportunity to raise awareness of the Forum’s good practices on addressing the challenge of returning families of FTFs, in the specific context of and with relevant governments and communities in  the Central Asia region.

Representatives from national and local governments and multilateral organisations, practitioners, community leaders, researchers and other stakeholders discussed key priorities and practices from their communities, including pertinent and timely discussions centred on more holistic approaches to the criminal justice system, better community integration for returnees, and the need for a reinvigoration of rehabilitation and reintegration efforts that focused on women and children, in particular.

Governments are an integral component in the design and implementation of improved solutions to FTFs, and are the nervous system of rehabilitation and reintegration processes. Strong Cities has been engaging local governments and other partners in Central Asia for several years to understand their needs and provide a platform for city-to-city learning with a view to strengthen local capacities.

Earlier this year, Strong Cities hosted a webinar on the Return & Reintegration of Family Members of Foreign Fighters. The webinar gathered the experiences and perspectives of three practitioners who have been working directly with local practitioners and returnees in Kazakhstan and elsewhere. This discussion featured: Stevan Weine, Director of Global Medicine and Director of the Center for Global Health, UIC College of Medicine; Gulnaz Razdykova, Director of the Center for Analysis and Development of Interfaith Relations, Nur Sultan; and Noah Tucker, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.