(Toulouse) – Human Rights Watch and nine other organizations issued the following statement on April 21, 2020:
We, the undersigned civil society organizations have learned of the alarming situation of young Taymia, a 7-year-old child of French nationality, who is currently being held with her mother in Al-Hol, a camp in northeast Syria for family members of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) suspects.
Taymia has a double heart defect, requiring urgent and specialized care, which she cannot receive on-site. Northeast Syria is woefully unprepared to deal with chronic or severe health issues.
In recent days, Taymia’s health has deteriorated and she is now at high risk of a cardio-vascular arrest at any moment.
For the past year, Taymia’s lawyer, Ludovic Rivière, has been unsuccessfully seeking her repatriation to France for medical treatment.
This repatriation is now of vital urgency: Taymia’s survival depends on it.
We therefore appeal to France’s highest authorities to ensure Taymia’s immediate return to France and medical care.
France should not let a child die if it’s in the country’s power to prevent it.
More than 500 people, most of them children, reportedly died in 2019 in Al-Hol camp, and at least 300 French children are held in Al-Hol and Roj, both camps under the administration of a Kurdish-led coalition in northeast Syria.
France has an obligation to protect its citizens, at all times and in all places, and in particular the most vulnerable.
France’s National Consultative Commission for Human Rights forcefully recalled this obligation in a communication dated September 25, 2019, calling on the French government to repatriate as soon as possible the French children detained in northeast Syria, based on the values of the Republic and respect for fundamental rights. The United Nations high commissioner for human rights and, more recently, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria established by the UN Human Rights Council, have called on countries to repatriate their children from camps in northeastern Syria.
France was one of the first signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which sets as a cardinal principle, beyond any ideology or personal conviction, the duty to protect the best interests of the child.
In an interview with Radio France International on April 14, answering a question about the fate of French people abroad in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, French President Emmanuel Macron said: “France protects all its children. ”
We call on the French president to respect his word and his commitments and to show humanity toward Taymia and all French children trapped in northeast Syria.
ACAT (Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture)
AEDH (European Association for the defence of Human Rights)
Amnesty International France
Avocats Sans Frontières France/Défense Sans Frontières –
Avocats Solidaires (Lawyers for Solidarity)
ECPM (Toghether against the death penalty)
FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)
Human Rights Watch
LDH (French League of Human Rights)
SCM – Syrian Center for Media and freedom of expression