UN experts urge the return of detained children from Syria

Date:

UN experts urge the return of detained children from Syria

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Friday, March 31, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • They announced, “It’s time to send them home.”

  • Several youngsters held by the de facto authorities after the fall of Baghouz in early 2019 are now beginning their fifth year of incarceration in northeast Syria.

  • They urged all parties involved to take immediate steps to protect all children in northeastern Syria from harm, regardless of where they are located.

  • Children make up more than half of the population in the camps, with 30% of them under five years old and 80% under 12. At jails and other detention facilities across northeast Syria, including purported rehabilitation facilities, there are also around 850 boys who are deprived of their liberty.

  • The experts declared that “these filthy camps are no place for children to live with dignity.”

In a joint statement, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Fionnuala N Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on protecting and promoting human rights while combatting terrorism, emphasised the need to protect children in crisis zones rather than penalise them.

They announced, “It’s time to send them home.” Several youngsters held by the de facto authorities after the fall of Baghouz in early 2019 are now beginning their fifth year of incarceration in northeast Syria.

They urged all parties involved to take immediate steps to protect all children in northeastern Syria from harm, regardless of where they are located.

According to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, states have a responsibility to shield vulnerable children from harm and potential violations of their right to life.

Terrorist attacks’ victims

They added that in addition to their primary position as victims of terrorism and children needing special protection under international law, “their best interests as highly vulnerable youngsters must be reestablished as a guiding factor.”

The two largest sealed camps for women, girls, and young boys are Al-Hol and Roj, which house roughly 56,000 people together, including 37,000 foreigners. Children make up more than half of the population in the camps, with 30% of them under five years old and 80% under 12.

At jails and other detention facilities across northeast Syria, including purported rehabilitation facilities, there are also around 850 boys who are deprived of their liberty.

Horrible human rights violations

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits all forms of discrimination and punishment of a child based on the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of their parents, the experts said, is flagrantly violated by the mass detention of children for what their parents may have done.

They said this was against the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that no child shall be arbitrarily or unjustly deprived of their liberty. “These children are imprisoned without any legal basis, court authority, review, supervision, or oversight,” they added.

“No children allowed.”

Conflict and closed camps, where living conditions amount to harsh, inhumane, or degrading treatment and constitute an immediate risk to children’s lives, physical and mental integrity, and development, are all that most children have ever known.

The experts declared that “these filthy camps are no place for children to live with dignity.” They don’t have access to the necessities of life, including food, water, shelter, education, and medical care.

Protection, not retribution

The experts believed that all youngsters in this battle zone should be protected, not penalised, despite the deteriorating security situation.

“These children must be treated with dignity in all settings, whether armed conflict or terrorism,” the experts stated. “These children are victims of terrorism and severe violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.” “The only answer and top priority must be a safe return to their home countries in conformity with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Governments must immediately repatriate children and their moms, they said. This is a solution that is now well within reach. “We point out that thorough rehabilitation programmes must be in place when children are repatriated,” the statement reads.

About Special Reporters

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, which appoints Special Rapporteurs, is responsible for this task. These impartial experts have been tasked with monitoring and reporting on particular national or thematic circumstances. The UN does not employ them, and they are not paid for their job.

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