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Four Nordic countries called on to repatriate nationals from NE Syria camps

  2021-05-26  | 
 Zhyan News Network
File Photo - A woman clad in a mask due to the COVID-19 pandemic walks next to a child by tents at Camp Roj, housing people who were relocated from al-Hol camp, in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, Sept. 30, 2020. Photo by AFP
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday (May 26) called on four Scandinavian countries to repatriate 164 of their nationals including 114 children remaining in camps and makeshift prisons in northeastern Syria known as Rojava.

“Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria,” the HRW said in a statement in a letter sent to the four Nordic governments.

Nearly 43,000 foreign men, women, and children linked to ISIS remain detained in northeast of Syria, the war monitor said in March.

As many as 30 Danes, 22 Finns, 37 Norwegians, and 65 to 75 Swedes remain locked in camps and makeshift prisons, according to media reports and civil society group, according to the war monitor. 

“Nordic countries have the ability to end the unlawful detention and horrific suffering of their nationals, most of them children who were victims of ISIS,” said Letta Tayler, the associate crisis and conflict director at the HRW. 

“As these detainees enter a third year of indefinite detention, their governments’ excuses for inaction ring increasingly hollow,” Tayler said.

The Kurdish authorizes have called on the foreign countries on several occasions to repatriate their nationals stranded in al-Hold and Roj camps. 

Holding the foreigners “is a huge burden” for the cash-strapped Autonomous Administration, Chia Kurd said. “The international community, in particular the countries who have citizens in the camps and prisons, are not assuming their responsibility. This issue, if not solved, will not only affect us, but the entire world.”

“Governments that substantively contribute to the detainees’ abusive confinement may be complicit in their unlawful detention and collective punishment,” the HRW said. 

Few countries have only repatriated children with approvals from their mothers, while many others have refused to do so citing their national security concerns. 

“The Nordic countries can be a model for safe, orderly, and rights-respecting returns of foreign ISIS suspects and their families,” Tayler said. “Conversely, if Nordic countries fail to help their nationals held in northeast Syria, they could lower the bar for human rights worldwide.”

On Tuesday, a Kurdish administration official on condition of anonymity told AFP that 94 Iraqi left the Al-Hol camp families, or 381 people to return to Iraq under the auspices of the Iraqi government. 

The move sparked condemnations from the Ezidi community, who are the most persecuted minorities suffered under the temporary rule of ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq.  

(Zhyan English)