Impossible to repatriate the ISIL children

Repatriate Children ISIL Syria Humanists orphanChildren ride in the back of a truck that is part of a convoy evacuating hundreds out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants in Baghouz, eastern Syria, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. The evacuation signals the end of a week long standoff and opens the way to U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recapture the territory. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Solberg: Impossible to repatriate the ISIL children

Norway cannot send personnel to repatriate Norwegian ISIL children, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Save the Children believes, on the other hand, that more needs to be done for the traumatised children.


“There are areas where Norway is not willing to send in diplomatic or other personnel such as the situation is today,” Solberg tells NTB.

“The International Community must help foreign children to come home,” Save the Children’s Director for Syria, Sonia Khush, implores.

“Children driven out of the latest ISIL areas are heavily traumatised after several years in war zones,” she warns.

Erna Solberg (Conservatives) will not yet help to repatriate children, even if they are Norwegian citizens.

“We keep ourselves updated on developments. It is, however, impossible to repatriate children under the current circumstances,” she continues.

Must reach a consulate

She maintains that the children and parents have to reach a consular station for help under their own steam.

“Persons with Norwegian citizenship, including their children, have the right to return to Norway. If so they must count on being investigated and prosecuted for participation in ISIL, which is illegal.”

International Law Expert, Mads Harlem, tells NTB that the issue of repatriating Norwegians, both adults and children, is about political will.

“It is obvious that these women and the children, couped up in camps, don’t have the opportunity to get in touch with Norwegian consulates. It is not impossible for the Norwegian authorities to repatriate the women, children and men, it is about a lack of political will,” Harlem asserts.

Solberg confirms that Norway and other European countries, whose nationals have been in ISIL controlled areas, exchange information. She asserts, however, that the question of how to deal with the cases, is up to the individual nation states to decide.

Lack of schooling and health care

There are at least 2,500 foreign children from about 30 countries among those who are now gathered in three camps in the extreme northeast corner of Syria.

“Many of the children in the Al Hol camp have moved several times together with their families. There are also children who have arrived on their own. Many have most likely lost years of schooling and proper health care,” Khush explains.

Several children, that Save the Children have spoken to, inform that they have lost family members who have been captured or killed. They tell of brutal violence and beheadings, nights of bombing and shooting. It is reported that especially children between 10 and 14 years of age are nervous, withdrawn, aggressive and suffer nightmares.

Roughly 60 children died in January and February as they were brought out of the war zones in Hajin and Baghouz and into the camps, according to the United Nations.

Size and population of the camps

  • Al Hol 40,000
  • An Issa 12.000
  • Roj 1.500


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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