An organization supporting 20 Australian children and 11 women detained in camps in northeast Syria filed a complaint with Australian courts on Tuesday seeking their repatriation.
These women and children of jihadists live in the Al-Hol and Al-Roj camps controlled by the Kurds, where violence is endemic and deprivation numerous. They have been there since the end in 2019 of the “caliphate”, established by the jihadist group Islamic State in Syria.
The humanitarian organization Save the Children Australia (STCA) filed a complaint on behalf of these women and children, requesting their repatriation.
The trial opened in the High Court in Melbourne on Tuesday, almost a year after the Australian government repatriated four women and 13 children from the Al-Roj and Al-Hol camps.
“The situation of the remaining detained people is stark and urgent,” said Peter Morrissey, a lawyer for the Australian organization acting on their behalf. The latter “represents women and children accused of no crime, detained in pitiful and appalling conditions,” he argued before the court.
“Their detention in the camps has lasted for several years,” emphasized Mr. Morrissey.
The issue of repatriations is politically controversial in Australia, where the conservative opposition party has repeatedly cited national security reasons to oppose them.
“Despite countless opportunities to repatriate these families, the Australian government has ultimately failed in its duty to bring all its citizens back to safety,” criticized Mat Tinkler, director general of the organization.
He called for political change, saying “hope that these children and their mothers will be repatriated very soon”.