“There are more European children currently detained in the detention camps than the entire population of Guantanamo Bay at its peak, and most of these children are under five years old. Like Guantanamo, they have no legal rights or protections while being forced to endure inhumane and brutal conditions.”

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The NGO Rights & Security International (RSI) has published a report on the situation of European women and children held in the camps in north eastern Syria and calls for their repatriation

There are at present 640 European children and 230 women held in the Roj and al-Hol camps in north eastern Syria. These  children and women have been held by the Syrian Democratic Forces for at least a year and a half, close to three years in some cases. In the whole of Europe, only about 60 children have been repatriated so far, most of them orphans. 

The NGO Rights and Security International has just published an important report calling for the immediate repatriation of European women and children held in detention camps in north eastern Syria. 

This report accuses European governments of having created a European Guantanamo in the detention camps of north eastern Syria. The 640 children and 230 women from EU countries and the UK are being held illegally, without charge or the possibility of a trial. There are at present more European children held in the detention camps than the entire population of Guantanamo at its peak, and most of these children are under the age of five. As at Guantanamo, they have no rights or legal protection while at the same time they are forced to endure inhuman, degrading and brutal conditions. 

This report is about the conditions of detention for European children and their mothers in the camps, the direct responsibility of European states in this detention which is illegal under international law, the false solutions envisaged by the states and the Kurdish administration (the “local” trials foreseen by the authorities of north eastern Syria will have no legal value in Europe or internationally), the security threats which the indefinite prolongation of this detention creates for Europe.

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The Collectif des Familles Unies wants you to be aware of this important report, which shows yet again the necessity of repatriating European citizens from Syria, and the extreme urgency of bringing European children and their mothers home as quickly as possible. 

Winter is arriving in Syria, and the children are getting cold in tents. It is 2 degrees at night in the camps now. The children are suffering. They are ill and their diseases cannot be properly cared for. The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross for the Middle East said a few days ago, regarding the camps in north eastern Syria where the French children are held: “The situation in the camps is unbearable. You only see children there. It’s shocking. It’s like a nursery school in hell.” 

In November 2019, the European Parliament launched an appeal for the repatriation of European children held in the camps in north eastern Syria. Unfortunately, this appeal has had no effect and a year later the tragic situation of these children remains unchanged. 

Le Collectif des Familles Unies, which brings together the French families of these innocent children, calls on European parliamentarians to launch a new initiative for the repatriation of European children held in Syria, and to appeal to their respective governments so that the countries of Europe, all of whom are signatories of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, repatriate at last these European children, who have lived for years in an inhumane situation. 

December 2, 2020

Le Collectif des Familles Unies 

Familles Unies

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http://www.famillesunies.fr

“It is a moral aberration to have a strategic policy which is leaving children in a detention camp to die”

https://www.rights and secruity.org/assets/downloads/Europes-guantanmo-THE_REPORT.pdf

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