UK government urged to repatriate nationals detained in Syrian camps
The UK government has been urged to repatriate foreign fighters and their families detained in camps in north-east Syria following an intervention by UN human rights experts.
In a court filing, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism and the UN special rapporteur on arbitrary, summary and extra-judicial executions said repatriation is the “only international law compliant response”.
The pair made the remarks in an amicus curiae brief submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in a case brought by the family of a French national held in the camps.
The “urgent return and repatriation of foreign fighters and their families from conflict zones is the only international law compliant response to the increasingly complex and precarious human rights, humanitarian and security situation faced by those women, men and children who are detained in inhumane conditions in overcrowded camps, prisons, or elsewhere”, they said.
Maya Foa, director of human rights NGO Reprieve, said: “How many more experts must criticise inaction before the UK government will listen? Many of these women are victims of serial abuse. Targeted because of their vulnerability, trafficked into Syria by coercive men, and now their own government has abandoned them.
“The government must urgently bring them back to the UK, with their children, and if there are charges to answer they must be dealt with by the British justice system.”