Preventing Violent Extremism in Central Asia

Project description

Title: Preventing Violent Extremism in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan)
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Country: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Overall term: 2020 to 2022


Violent extremism and radicalisation are posing growing challenges for the countries of Central Asia. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are responding to these developments with reforms in the justice system and the security sector. At the same time, there is evidence of a certain change in strategy in dealing with religious public opinion on the one hand and extremist groups and individuals on the other. There is increasing demand for preventive measures, including the provision of education and psychosocial counselling services. These strengthen the resilience of the population to possible radicalisation and supplement police and intelligence resources employed in the fight against extremism. However, one focus of the security authorities continues to be on state education and religious and civic (re-) education. Up to now, prevention has been perceived as an exclusively security-related issue and not as a task for society as a whole.


The state and civil society in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are taking appropriate measures to prevent violent extremism that particularly promote the resilience of vulnerable population groups.


The project aims to change existing practice in combating terrorism with new approaches and instruments to prevent violent extremism. It is more important to create long-term prospects for young people, migrant workers and former prisoners than to concentrate entirely on criminal prosecution and sanctioning. 

It is assumed that a more humane penal system and new approaches towards the rehabilitation of offenders in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will have a beneficial effect on the prevention of violent extremism. Awareness-raising campaigns and dialogue formats supplement this approach, as does the exchange with experts from neighbouring countries in Central Asia.

Providing international advisory services and training courses for the employees of partner institutions, the project aims to promote a constructive understanding of prevention based on human rights. Locally, this project is cooperating with civil society and government organisations in selected pilot locations to prevent extremism by improving or expanding existing information provision and education services. 

Qualification and professional development courses help the government to improve state prevention work. In addition, dialogue with young people and religious communities is promoted with a view to reducing stigmatisation and social exclusion. The project pursues specific approaches that are adapted to the countries concerned and take account of the Central Asian perspective.

Last update: December 2020