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European court case shows Australian children must urgently be repatriated from Syria

2 min read
Australian Children

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights to call on France to ‘re-examine’ its refusal to repatriate women from Syria, highlights the need for Australia to do the same and repatriate children living in desperately dangerous limbo caused by political inaction, said Save the Children Australia today.

Keeping in mind the well-being of children, the court found that there may be positive obligations on states to repatriate their nationals, in situations where extraterritorial factors directly threaten the life and physical wellbeing of a child in a situation of extreme vulnerability.

The European Court of Human Rights decision adds to longstanding calls from United Nations human rights bodies, the Autonomous Administration of North East Syria (AANES) and the United States government, to repatriate the more than 40 Australian children and their mothers who are currently being held in camps in North-East Syria.

“We know that Australian children are suffering in these camps and each day they spend there the more harm is being done,” said Save the Children Australia CEO Mat Tinkler.The children who are currently in these camps face threats to their life and physical well-being on a day-to-day basis, they are vulnerable and want to return home.Tinkler stated that the Australian government should act urgently on the consistent requests for the repatriation of children, who have been kept waiting for more than three years for a political decision to be made for their repatriation.

“We acknowledge the complexities around the issue but urge the Australian Government to commit to bringing home Australian children and their mothers,” said Tinkler.

“The case demonstrates the need for appropriate safeguards to be put in place to avoid arbitrary treatment of Australian children, such as the cessation of citizenship of the parents of children in detention, which can effectively render children stateless. They do not deserve to be condemned to a life of suffering, or worse, death.”

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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