The Rights and Security International (RSI), a human rights advocacy group, published on Wednesday the second of two reports calling for the immediate repatriation of women and children held in the al Hol and Roj detention camps in northeast Syria.
According to the RSI report, an estimated 12,000 people from countries outside of Iraq and Syria are in these camps and experiencing torture on the basis of a presumed connection to ISIS. UN experts have described conditions in both al Hol and Roj camps as grim, squalid, and a blight on the conscience of humanity with no end in sight for the women and children in the camps.
The report also suggests that many governments worldwide have the power to end the arbitrary detention of women and children in these conditions by repatriating them. The British government is specifically called on to end the torture of British children and women by bringing them back to the UK from the camps. “By refusing to bring these children and women back to the UK when it could do so, the British government is abandoning people – including its own citizens – to torture and death,” said Sarah St Vincent, RSI’s executive director. ‘This refusal blatantly ignores fundamental human rights that the British government promotes on the international stage, and treats these Muslim women and children as less than human.”
Despite this being the second of two RSI reports asking the British government to remove their citizens from the risk of violence, exploitation and disease, the British government has refused to repatriate their children and women. Instead, it has stripped them of their British citizenship. The report questions whether this act by the British government relied on racist, Islamophobic and gendered stereotyping and starkly states, “no one should be abandoned to torture and death, let alone because of Islamophobic stereotypes or unproven assumptions.”