Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called upon the government of Trinidad and Tobago to “act urgently” in repatriating its citizens who remain in Syria’s detention camps for Daesh suspects and their families. There are an estimated 70 children and 25 women from the Caribbean nation still in Al-Hol camp in north-east Syria.
A new report released today — “My Son is Just Another Kid: Experiences of Children Repatriated from Camps for ISIS Suspects and Their Families in Northeast Syria — documents the experiences of around 100 children who have been repatriated to several countries between 2019 and 2022.
According to HRW, since 2019 approximately three dozen countries have repatriated or helped get home some or many of their detained nationals. Among them are several European countries, the US, Russia and some Central Asian republics. Russia and Central Asian countries have collectively repatriated approximately 1,000 children, which is nearly twice as many as all Western nations combined.
However, in contrast, Trinidad and Tobago has thus far only allowed two children home, despite the country being considered to have the largest number of people per capita from any Western country to have travelled to former Daesh-run territories.
“The greatest risk is not bringing the children home, but leaving them in the camps where they risk death, illness, recruitment by [Daesh], and indefinite detention for the suspected crimes of their parents,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at HRW. “Trinidad and Tobago should urgently allow its nationals to return home and do their best to keep mothers and children together.”