The OSCE’s engagement in Tajikistan began in February 1994, at a time when the country was caught up in a civil conflict that was to last from 1992 to 1997. The Mission’s initial mandate was to facilitate dialogue between regional and political forces; promote respect for human rights; foster and monitor Tajikistan’s adherence to OSCE norms and principles; and help the country develop its legal and democratic institutions and processes.
Working with the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan, the Mission helped implement the peace process and acted as a guarantor of the Tajik Peace Agreement of June 1997. A particular role given to the Mission was to assist with carrying out the protocols of the Agreement that dealt with political issues, refugee return and military matters.
In February 2000, Tajikistan held its first multi-party parliamentary elections. This event concluded the OSCE’s work on the implementation of the peace agreement and augured a change in the character of the Mission’s activities. Having branched out further afield over the years – field offices had been established in Garm, Khujand, Kulyab, Kurgan-Tyube and Shaartuz – the Mission shifted its focus to post-conflict rehabilitation and the development of democratic institutions.
In step with the country’s development over the years, the participating States twice enlarged and strengthened the OSCE’s mandate in Tajikistan. In 2002, a new broadened mandate established the Centre in Dushanbe and included economic and environmental security issues. Six years later, the States adopted an even more robust mandate, introducing the complex area of border management into the OSCE’s tasks and changing the name of the Centre to Office in Tajikistan.