Tuesday, February 23, 2021

They prefer the trial in their country to remaining … French women detained in Syria start a hunger strike


They showed their willingness to take responsibility and judge them in France for what they had done.

Ten French women detained in camps in Syria began a hunger strike on Sunday “to protest the constant refusal” by the French authorities to “organize their return with their children” to their country, two lawyers said.

In a statement, attorneys 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 that they have no other choice but to abstain from eating.”

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

About 80 women who joined ISIS, along with 200 children, are being held in camps in Syria run by Kurdish forces.

Women walking with their children in Al-Hol camp, which includes families of Syrian, Iraqi and foreign (European) nationalities

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 season.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child warned last November of the “immediate” danger to the lives of these children, who are being held in “inhumane sanitary conditions” and who are deprived of “the most basic foodstuffs.”

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

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, the mother of a 32-year-old woman with cancer and who is being held in a camp in Syria with her four children, stopped eating at the beginning of February, in an attempt to push for her daughter’s repatriation.

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

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