VIENNA, 25 June - Tajikistan's impressive record in building peace and democratic institutions over the past decade, with the support of the OSCE and other international partners, is the focus of the latest issue of the OSCE Magazine.
Ten years ago this month, one of the most tragic conflicts in Central Asia ended when Tajik authorities and the United Tajik Opposition signed the "General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Reconciliation". Lasting from 1992 to 1997, Tajikistan's civil war led to an estimated 100,000 deaths.
"The signing of the accord in Moscow on 27 June 1997 after 16 rounds of negotiations over three years was a major unifying act and truly one of the greatest moments in our history," writes Nuriddin T. Shamsov, Tajikistan's Ambassador to the OSCE, in a message introducing the Magazine.
"The OSCE was a guarantor of our Peace Agreement, and its advice, assistance and commitment made it possible for us to move on from post-conflict rehabilitation to sustainable peace." Today, the OSCE presence in Tajikistan is the Organization's longest-running operation in Central Asia and the largest in terms of staff, most of whom are Tajik nationals.
In a series of articles, OSCE experts share behind-the-scenes accounts of activities aimed at managing Tajikistan's porous borders with Afghanistan and China in the Pamir Mountains, ridding the country of thousands of anti-personnel mines, and destroying or ensuring the safe storage of small arms, light weapons and conventional ammunition.
Reflecting the OSCE's countrywide engagement, the Magazine carries contributions from OSCE staff who face special challenges in their day-to-day work in some of Tajikistan's most isolated areas. An article takes a close look at women as heads of households and victims of domestic violence and how they are being given a new lease on life by a large network of OSCE-supported women's resource centres.
As part of its special coverage on Tajikistan, the Magazine examines the relationship between Central Asia and the OSCE, including the significance of the visit of the Spanish Chairman-in-Office to all five Central Asian countries, a regional co-operation project to improve water management and an ambitious programme to boost the transport and trading systems in landlocked countries.