Dutch government planning to repatriate 41 ISIS women and children from Syria
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Dutch government is planning to repatriate 12 ISIS women and 29 children from northern Syria, the Dutch broadcaster RTL reported on Friday.
The Dutch government has earlier repatriated women and children, but this will be the biggest group repatriated as a result of a court decision.
In May, a Dutch court ruled that if the women are not returned to the Netherlands, criminal proceedings in the case against the women would risk being closed and they can never be prosecuted in the Netherlands.
Moreover, earlier the court has given the government a deadline of four months to repatriate the ISIS families.
So far it's unclear when the government will repatriate the families due to the large number of the group.
"While it’s unfortunate that the Netherlands had to be forced by a court to act, its planned repatriation of 41 more Dutch women and children marks a significant step toward ending foreign countries’ unconscionable abandonment of their nationals in northeast Syria," Letta Tayler, associate director of the Crisis and Conflict Division at Human Rights Watch, told Kurdistan 24.
"Thanks to court rulings and concerted efforts from detainees’ families and rights groups, the cracks in the wall of resistance to repatriations continue to widen."
She added the Dutch move comes just two months after France, which had fiercely resisted repatriations, brought home 35 children and 16 women from northeast Syria.
It also follows a European Court of Human Rights ruling in September that France violated the rights of five French women and children held in northeast Syrian camps by refusing to repatriate them without any formal review or official decision.
"It’s long past time for other governments to stop stalling on repatriations," she said.
"Leaving foreign men, women and children in northeast Syria in horrific conditions with no due process will not make countries safer. It just increases security risks by giving ISIS more opportunities to try to help hardliners among them escape and recruit children."
"Governments should bring home their nationals and help children rebuild their lives while prosecuting the adults as needed. In the meantime, they should help the northeast Syrian authorities improve conditions for these detainees."
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) have repeatedly called on foreign countries to repatriate their citizens.
"The Kurdish-led detaining authorities in northeast Syria have made it clear that they do not have the resources to care for these tens of thousands of foreigners on their own," Tayler added.