January 04, 2024
Rights & Security International (RSI) welcomes the recent repatriation of a British woman and five children from the camps in northeast Syria where they had been confined in harsh conditions following the conflict with Islamic State. This is a significant positive development in the process of bringing British nationals and former nationals home. However, action in isolated cases is not sufficient, and we urgently call for the government to repatriate all remaining British citizens and former citizens – including young children -- from the camps where they are being forced to live indefinitely in conditions that could kill or maim them.
The UK government had previously allowed repatriations on five occasions involving only 11 British nationals or former nationals, lagging behind many other countries, as our repatriation data shows. Everyone has the right to life and the right to freedom from torture, and no one should be detained indefinitely without trial. Everyone also has a right to respect for private and family life, and parents should not face any pressure to send their children back to the UK alone. Instead, everyone should be repatriated without delay.
Sabah Hussain, RSI’s Team Leader on Migration and Citizenship, said, “The lives of everyone in the sections of these camps for foreign nationals is at risk, and that includes children. The camps are regularly swept by fires, floods and disease. With every day of inaction, the UK runs the risk that its citizens – or the people whose citizenship it has taken away without a trial – will die. The government should repatriate all British nationals and former nationals from northeast Syria immediately."
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