12 June 2023

Repatriation and reintegration of children affected by conflict in Syria and Iraq to Central Asia

Since 2019, more than 1,100 children have been repatriated to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan from camps and places of detention in Syria and Iraq. These children are victims of armed conflict. While in camps and detention facilities, they were deprived of liberty, education, protection and other basic services, making them vulnerable to preventable illness and disease, and exposing them to exploitation and violence. To support Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with gender responsive and human rights-based repatriation and reintegration of these children and their caregivers returning from Syria and Iraq, the European Commission Service for Foreign Policy Instruments initiated a joint EU-UN programme. In partnership with UNICEF, UN Women and these four Central Asian countries, the programme worked towards ensuring family-based care, education, mental health and psychosocial support, and other services to help children’s recovery and development. UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office commissioned the development of a Compendium of Promising Practices to document the positive approaches taken by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to promote the repatriation and reintegration of children into their communities of origin. The compendium contributes to the commendation of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan for the commitment to children’s rights demonstrated by undertaking large-scale repatriation efforts, serving as an example to the international community.