UN says children of jihadists are in grave danger, calls for them to be repatriated from Syria

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UN investigators on Thursday called for thousands of children of jihadists who fought for the Islamic State group to be repatriated from Syria.

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The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said in a report that the children were in a "particularly precarious" situation since they often lacked official papers.

"This, in turn, jeopardises their rights to a nationality, hinders family reunification processes and puts them at a higher risk of exploitation and abuse," the report said.

The UN says around 28,000 children of foreign fighters are living in Syrian camps — 20,000 of them from Iraq.

Thousands more are believed to be held in prisons, where teenage children are being detained alongside adults.

Commission chair Paulo Pinheiro said the detention of children with adults was "a terrible violation", urging the relevant governments to take action to stop this.

"All this delay in not taking these children from these prisons is outrageous. It's a scandal," he said.

Following the collapse of the self-proclaimed caliphate of IS last year, foreign fighters from nearly 50 countries were detained in Syria and Iraq.

Many of their relatives are held in the overcrowded Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria, home to around 68,000 and where more than 500 people — mostly children — died in 2019.

The UN commission called on governments to recognise papers issued by non-state actors such as the IS group and witness testimonies to allow the children to obtain official documents.

UNHCR human rights official Marie-Dominique Parent told the European Parliament in November that roughly 700 to 750 children with European links were being held in camps in northeast Syria, with 300 of them said to be French.

Some countries have started to repatriate the children — with or without their parents — on humanitarian grounds.

But the UN investigators criticised the practice of revoking citizenship of suspectedRead More – Source

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