U.N. Humans Right Chief Said Captured IS Fighters and Their Families Should be Prosecuted Fairly or Freed; Countries Should Accept Their Citizens Back

  • U.N. Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet said that the approximately 55,000 captured Islamic State fighters and their family members currently held in Syria and Iraq should be prosecuted fairly or set free.
  • According to Bachelet, “the 55,000 include alleged foreign fighters from nearly 50 countries and 11,000 family members held at the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria in deeply sub-standard conditions.”
  • The al-Hol camp has had experienced a population increase that has seen it go from 11,000 people to more than 70,000 “following the collapse of the last IS bastion at Baghouz.”
  • Bachelet said: “Accountability through fair trials protects societies from future radicalization and violence.” She added that detaining people not suspected of crimes was unacceptable.
  • Bachelet also said that countries should “take responsibility” for their citizens and accept them back if they are not charged with crimes.
  • She added that these countries “should not inflict statelessness on fighters’ children who have already suffered so much.”
  • “Foreign family members should be repatriated, unless they are to be prosecuted for crimes in accordance with international standards,” Bachelet said.
  • However, many countries don’t want these captured people back, and “fear prosecutions of IS fighters may be difficult and public opinion is often strongly against repatriation.”
  • Additionally, some countries “don’t recognize the children of IS members born in Syria and Iraq as citizens, despite their parents having nationality.”
  • According to the U.N., “there are about 29,000 children of foreign IS fighters in Syria, 20,000 of them from Iraq, but overall there are about 50 nationalities.”
  • Russia, France, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Morocco have accepted some children, and Australia said it removed six children from a Syrian refugee camp.

Reference Links

  • BBC: Islamic State captives ‘must be tried or freed’, says UN’s Bachelet READ
  • NPR: Thousands Of ISIS Fighters Must Be Tried Or Let Go, U.N. Rights Chief Says READ
  • ABC: UN rights chief: Relatives of ex-IS fighters should go home READ
  • Reuters: U.N.’s Bachelet says 55,000 linked to IS in Syria, Iraq should be tried or freed READ

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