Ten French women held in camps in Syria began a hunger strike on Sunday, to protest against the French authorities’ refusal to organize their return with their children to their country, two lawyers said.
In a statement, attorneys Marie Dose and Ludovic Riviere, who are advising each other, said: “After years of waiting and the absence of any possibility of a verdict, they feel they have no other choice but to abstain from eating.”
They added, “The women explained in audio messages to their relatives that they could no longer bear watching their children suffer, and that they wanted to assume their responsibility and be judged in France for what they had done.”
About 80 women who joined ISIS, along with 200 children, are being held 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 in winter.
For years, Paris has adopted a case-by-case policy to return children, and so far 35 of them have returned, most of them orphans. The two lawyers said that “leaving women in these camps, while the Kurdish authorities have been urging France for years to return them, is completely irresponsible and inhuman.”
Pascal Decamp, the mother of a 32-year-old woman diagnosed with cancer, who is kept in a camp with her four children, stopped eating at the beginning of February to try to bring her daughter home.
Last December, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights asked France to “take the necessary measures” to allow it access to medical care.
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