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”.

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 a statement delivered at a press briefing in Dushanbe, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, in particular, noted on May 4 that the threat to security and stability in the region is very real.

“As many other countries around the world, Central Asian states have been a source of foreign terrorist fighters in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.  Now many of them are returning back home.  And some Central Asian countries border on regions strongly influenced by terrorist organizations.” 

He welcomed Tajikistan’s commitment to addressing these challenges, including in partnership with the OSCE.

According to him, OSCE Secretariat, Field Operations and Institutions assist participating States in developing comprehensive, balanced and coordinated responses to these challenges.  Notably, the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe reportedly helped Tajikistan draft its National Strategy on Countering Terrorism and Extremism.

The Secretariat’s Transnational Threats Department works closely with all OSCE Central Asian Field Operations on capacity building and other efforts to prevent terrorism and violent extremism.

“The OSCE encourages the development of nuanced approaches that address legitimate security concerns while ensuring respect for human rights.  Counter-terrorism legislation should criminalize acts of violence or incitement to violence, while respecting the freedom to express views that we may not agree with,” Thomas Greminger, noting that indiscriminate counter-terrorism policies can alienate segments of the population, which could lead to their radicalization and violence.  In other words, such policies could actually push people toward violent extremism and terrorism. Instead of repressing diverse voices, it is far more effective to let them be heard and to engage with them.

“Law enforcement measures alone cannot defeat terrorism and violent extremism, without parallel efforts being invested in prevention. In this spirit, Tajikistan – with the OSCE’s support – established Public Councils in various regions to engage at the local level and strengthen cooperation between police and local communities,” he noted.

“The fight against radicalization leading to violent extremism or terrorism is not a battle any country can win alone. A comprehensive and cooperative approach of OSCE participating States, multilateral organizations and civil society is needed if we are to succeed,” Ambassador Thomas Greminger said.