UN investigators called on countries to repatriate the children of foreign jihadists of the Islamic State group (EI) who are in Syria, including their mothers.
In a report released on Thursday, the International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria, created in 2011 by the Human Rights Council of the UN, says that many of these children are in a “particularly precarious” situation, for they have no ID document.
Born in areas formerly controlled by the Syrian opposition, these children struggle to obtain civil status registration “because the documents provided by the armed groups are not recognized by governments,” explains the report.
Investigators are asking the countries from where the foreign fighters come from to take “immediate steps to simplify the registration of the children of their nationals born in Syria, with the ultimate goal of repatriating them as soon as possible, including their mothers.”
“States have clearly defined obligations to protect children, including against statelessness. Failure to follow these basic principles would be a clear derogation from this obligation,” Hanny Megally, a member of the COI declares.
In early November, a UN High Commission for Human Rights official, Marie-Dominique Parent, had estimated that there were between 700 and 750 children of EU nationals who are held in precarious conditions in camps of North-eastern Syria.
The report also stresses that the Syrian government has detained and tortured children “aged only 12.” The Commission of Inquiry on Syria also recalls that children were executed by the Islamic State, and sometimes forced to murder people. Young girls were used as sex slaves.
In their recommendations, the three investigators call on all parties to commit in writing to giving these children special protection and to pursuing the perpetrators of such acts.