July 05, 2021Counter-Terrorism Repatriation Gender
On Monday 5 July 2021, Rights and Security International ('RSI') submitted a written intervention to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the joined cases of H.F. and M.F. v France and J.D. and A.D. v. France. These cases concern two French women and their minor children who are being held in al Hol camp in the northeast area of Syria. The applicants - the parents of the two French women - allege that the French Government's decisions not to repatriate their respective daughters and grandchildren to France exposure them to, among other things, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
For the past 20 months, RSI has monitored and documented conditions in al Hol and Roj camps in the northeast area of Syria, including the specific human rights concerns arising therein. Our research and analysis have also taken particular account of factors related to gender or having a distinct impact on children.
In June 2021, RSI was granted leave to intervene in the above joined cases before the Grand Chamber.
RSI's intervention contributes to our ongoing advocacy on the need for repatriation of foreign nationals held in the northeast area of Syria.
Summary of RSI's intervention
RSI's intervention comprises two submissions.
The first submission provides the Court with a fact-based legal analysis of conditions in and treatment of those living in al Hol camp, concluding that the conditions and treatment rise to at least the level of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment prohibited by Article 3 of the ECHR.
The second submission provides the Court with an analysis of the potential rights implications of attempting to distinguish the situation of adult women in the camp from that of minor children, as the Court invited the parties to do in its questions to the parties. We conclude that, whilst an individualised assessment of rights held and obligations owed is appropriate in these joined cases, as in most others, in these instances the rights of the minor children and the situation of the adult women are interdependent. We also conclude that to fully respect the rights and human dignity of the applicants’ adult daughters under the Convention, the Court’s analysis should take full account of the freestanding rights held by the applicants’ adult daughters not solely as a result of their status as mothers, but also as individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing serious rights violations.
To read our full written submissions, please download the document below.
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