AsiaPlus: Tajikistan refuses to attend OSCE-wide counter-terrorism conference in Vienna

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Representatives of Tajikistan’s Prosecutor-General’s Office, Interior Ministry, State Committee for National Security (SCNS) and some public associations have reportedly refused to attend the annual OSCE-wide counter-terrorism conference formally titled “Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization that Lead to Terrorism” that is going on in Vienna, Austria without an explanation of the reasons.

Asia-Plus has failed to get any clarification from these agencies about the reason for refusal to attend the conference.

According to OSCE’s website, more than 500 experts from across the OSCE region have gathered for the two-day conference that kicked off in Vienna on May 23.

Organized by Austria's 2017 OSCE Chairmanship, the conference is reportedly discussing national experiences and international co-operation in countering terrorism, good practices from the OSCE region on rehabilitation and reintegration strategies, as well as prevention of radicalization to terrorism.

The conference participants are noting that violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism (VERLT) is a threat faced by both OSCE participating States and their Partners for Cooperation and is high on the OSCE agenda.

The conference is also addressing youth empowerment in preventing and countering VERLT, which is one of the priorities of the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship. It will provide a platform for youth representatives to present in front of the policy makers their recommendations, which were drafted throughout the past year during the OSCE Chairmanship's in Office workshops on youth and the prevention of violent extremism organized in Western Europe, the Black Sea region, the Western Balkans and Central Asia.

All political parties officially functioning in Tajikistan, except the Social-Democratic Party (SDP), last year accused the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe of double standards.

In a joint statement released on October 10, the People’s Democratic Party, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, the Democratic Party, the Agrarian Party and the Party of Economic Reforms condemn an incident that took place during the OSCE conference in Warsaw on September 19.

Leaders of the mentioned parties, in particular, consider that tribunes of such important events should not be given to supporters of extremist and terrorist organizations, noting that Group 24 and the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan have been designated in Tajikistan as terrorist organizations.

Tajikistan’s political parties called on the OSCE to expand cooperation with the country’s civil society.

Recall, some 20 Tajik opposition and rights activists residing in Europe on September 19 entered the OSCE conference in Warsaw when the human rights situation in Tajikistan was being discussed. They held a silent protest. The protesters wore T-shirts with portraits of Tajik opposition politicians and lawyers who were jailed in the country in recent months. Human rights groups have called the cases politically motivated.

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