Sunday, February 28, 2021

French women detained in Syria start a hunger strike, as Paris refuses to return them with their children


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Ten French women, held by Kurdish forces in Syria, began a hunger strike Sunday, to protest against the French authorities’ refusal to organize their return to France with their children. Kurdish forces oversee camps in Syria where they are holding about 80 women who joined the “Islamic State” organization, accompanied by about 200 children, whom the International Committee of the Red Cross says are suffering from malnutrition and severe respiratory diseases during the winter. The French authorities are studying each case of these children separately, and have returned about 35 of them, most of them orphans.

Ten French women camped in Syria Sunday’s hunger strike “to protest persistent rejection” by French authorities “To organize their return with their children” to their country, two lawyers announced.

In a statement, lawyers Marie Dose and Ludovic Riviere, who advise some of these women, said that “after years of waiting and no possibility of a verdict, they feel they have no other choice but to abstain from eating.”

They added, “These women explained in audio messages sent to their relatives that they can no longer bear watching their children suffer, and that they want to assume their responsibility and to be judged in France for what they have done.”

About 80 women who had joined the The Islamic StateWith about 200 children, in camps in Syria run by Kurdish forces.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which works in the al-Hol and Roj camps in northeastern Syria, says that children suffer from malnutrition and severe respiratory diseases during the winter.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child warned in November of the “immediate” danger to the lives of these children, detained in “inhumane sanitary conditions” and deprived of “the most basic food.”

For years, Paris has adopted a case-by-case policy regarding the return of these children. So far, 35 have been repatriated, most of them orphans.

The two lawyers said that “leaving these women in these camps, while the Kurdish authorities have been urging France for years to return them, is completely irresponsible and inhuman.”

Pascal Decamp, a 32-year-old woman diagnosed with cancer and held in a camp with her four children, stopped eating at the beginning of February, in an effort to push for her daughter’s repatriation.

In December, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights asked France to “take the necessary measures” to allow this woman access to medical care.

France 24 / AFP



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