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Landmark legal case to repatriate Australian children from NE Syria begins in Federal Court

2 min read

Save the Children Australia says the Australian Government must commit to bring home the group of children and their mothers, who have been trapped in North East Syria desert camps since 2019. 

A group of 20 Australian children and 11 women seeking to compel the Government to repatriate them from North East Syria take their case to the Federal Court today with the support of Save the Children Australia. 

Save the Children Australia has been calling for the urgent repatriation of innocent Australian children trapped in North East Syrian camps since the collapse of Islamic State (ISIS) in March 2019. 

“Save the Children Australia is supporting these innocent Australian children and turning to the courts because they have been abandoned by their own government,” said Save the Children CEO Mat Tinkler. 

Since then, this group of Australian children has been in grave danger, lacking many of the basic necessities – such as adequate healthcare, education and nutrition – that children on home soil can access. 

Save the Children Australia, acting as litigation guardian in the case, is formally requesting the Australian Government to stand by its moral and legal obligation to repatriate its citizens immediately. 

Tinkler highlihgted that the families had waited more than four years to be repatriated, before turning to the legal system as a last resort.  

“Despite countless opportunities to repatriate these families, the Australian Government has ultimately failed in its duty to bring all of its citizens home to safety,” he said. 

According to Tinkler, legal action was never the preferred approach for anyone, however the families have been left with no other recourse.  

“Advocacy efforts by the families and NGOs like Save the Children Australia and many others have been exhaustive and relentless,” added Tinkler. 

“We desperately hope these children and their mothers will be imminently repatriated home to safety. It is unfathomable that the Australian Government has abandoned its citizens.” 

“The Government cannot allow these innocent children to suffer further – they must do what is legally and morally right, before it’s too late,” said Tinkler. 

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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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