France repatriates more children in the north-east of Syria

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The French government announced this week have returned 10 children in the camps of the families of the suspects of the islamic State (EI) in the north-east of Syria. The children would have been handed over to officials of the French ministry of foreign Affairs, who travelled in the north-east of Syria. The French authorities have now brought back 28 French children in the region since march, 2019, including, most recently, a little girl of 7 years old with a severe heart malformation. They should bring back the rest at home.

The withdrawal of these 10 children designated as ‘orphans or humanitarian cases” – camps, squalid and dangerous in the north-east of Syria is a positive step. But the mothers of two of these children are still in the camps and a child would have been separated from their brothers and sisters. And more than 250 French children whose parents are likely to have left France to join Daech are still stuck in the camps of Roj and al-Hol, managed by the democratic Forces in syria, the military branch of the authorities of kurds in the region.

The living conditions in the camps of this region torn by war are terribly overcrowded and unsanitary, resulting in some cases in the dead. In these conditions, the threat of rapid spread of Covid-19 is even greater. Only six confirmed cases have been reported in north-eastern Syria in mid-June, but the almost total lack of testing in the region fear that the number of cases is much higher. The region is profoundly under-prepared to cope with a major outbreak, in particular because of the restrictions of the humanitarian aid.

Foreign women and their children in the camps of al-Hol and Roj have been held without being charged or even brought before a judge, in violation of international law. The children are deprived of their fundamental rights to life, to protection, to healthcare, to education and, for those born in Syria, to a nationality.

Despite the desperate pleas of families in France, as well as the repeated calls of independent institutions of human rights and of United Nations agencies, including the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and the United Nations special rapporteur on the fight against terrorism, France continues in its policy of “case by case”, and returns the blow-by-blow of the children in the camps. To condemn these children and their mothers, to the arbitrary detention and indefinite in conditions that were inhuman and dangerous, serves neither justice nor security.

Leaving these children and their mothers in danger, so he could bring them back to France, the French government abandons its citizens, and turns his back on humanity.

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