Iraq/Syria: Arab governments call for the repatriation of their nationals (joint statement)

العالقون في سوريا والعراق

The undersigned organizations call on Arab governments to accelerate the repatriation of their nationals stranded in northern Syria and Iraq for years, following the example of the repatriation of nationals of other nationalities, especially those of European nationality, repatriated to their countries in recent years. 

The UN estimates that more than 11,136 foreign women and children from some 60 other countries remain in camps in northeastern Syria, either in camps and closed rehabilitation centres or in squalid prisons. 

Recalling the suffering of hundreds of families stranded by the escalation of violence and the dwindling of basic aid, including medical care, we regret that many Arab States have not repatriated their citizens or taken steps to address this haunting humanitarian issue.

The undersigned organizations express their support for the initiative launched by the United Nations through its website more than two years ago to help countries repatriate their citizens “stranded” in refugee camps in Iraq and in Syria. The initiative, called "Global Framework for UN Support to Syria and Iraq - Third Countries National Returnees", aims to help foreign nationals who are still living in "deplorable conditions and in overcrowded camps in the northeast Syria", considering that the return of foreign nationals to their country is "a matter of concern" and a national and international priority from a humanitarian and security point of view.

According to UN reports, around 77% of children in the camps are under 12 years old and 33% are under five years old. “Living conditions are poor, the population suffers from a lack of adequate shelter, food, sanitation, education, health care, legal proceedings, insecurity and ambient violence,” notes the report.

Accordingly, the human rights organizations that signed this statement regret the continued suffering of thousands of children of different nationalities in northeastern Syria, most of them in displaced refugee camps, placing the responsibility on country governments to return these children and their families to their countries of origin so that they can receive appropriate care and live in safety, away from violence and abuse.

We renew our call for all stranded children and women to be released and brought to safety so that they can overcome their trauma and receive the necessary support.

Signatory organizations:

- Alkarama for Human Rights, Geneva

- Global Platform for Rights and Freedoms

- National Coordination of Blocked Moroccan Families