Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Senior MPs: Govt Must Repatriate British Families in Syrian Camps

UK -

Four senior Conservative MPs have called on the UK Government to repatriate British families held in detention camps in northern Syria.

The MPs, Andrew Mitchell, David Davis, Tom Tugendhat and Tobias Ellwood, addressed their concerns to the Attorney General, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, in an open letter. 

“We are concerned that their current indefinite detention in increasingly precarious Kurdish detention camps poses a significant security challenge to the UK, as well as significant harm to the children involved,” they wrote.

“We urge you to ensure that these individuals are brought back to the UK so that any adults accused of crimes can be fairly prosecuted with due process, and the children’s safety is ensured.”

“We believe that a policy of family separation would undermine any prospect of reintegrating returning children into UK society, while doing nothing to resolve the risk of losing track of the adults in north-east Syria, or secure justice for any crimes they may have committed.”

Many of the women in the camps were trafficked to Syria by older male relatives or abusive partners at a young age. The letter continues: “Whilst some of these young women may have criminal charges to answer, their cases undoubtedly sustained abuse and exploitation, and to leave them in indefinite detention, or to face torture and the death penalty in Assad-controlled Syria or Iraq, would fly in the face of the fact that they are also victims of trafficking and gender-based violence. The complex dynamics of their situation are best dealt with by the UK authorities, and not by leaving them in this unsustainable and precarious position.”

The letter was reported on BBC Radio Four’s Six O’Clock News, and in the Times.

Reprieve Director Maya Foa said: “Many of these women are victims of serial abuse. Targeted because of their vulnerability, trafficked into Syria by coercive men, and now their own government has abandoned them. The government must urgently bring them back to the UK, and if there are charges to answer they must be dealt with by the British justice system.”

###

Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.

UN General Assembly Condemns Myanmar Junta Violence, Urges Arms Embargo

Member nations voted 119-1 in favor of the resolution, which also calls for a return to the country's fragile democracy.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Dems Introduce Abolition Amendment to Scrap Constitution's 'Slavery Clause'

"The loophole in our Constitution's ban on slavery not only allowed slavery to continue, but launched an era of discrimination and mass incarceration that continues to this day," said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


'Surreal' and 'Distressing': Climate Experts' Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

"The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


94% of Americans Oppose Big Pharma's Control of Global Covid-19 Vaccine Doses: Poll

Half of U.S. adults also consider it unacceptable that pharmaceutical corporations, which monopolized dose production, have profited substantially from vaccines developed using public funding.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


'Counseling Not Criminalization' Bill Unveiled to Boot Police From US Schools

"For too long our education system has been intertwined with the criminal legal system and the results have been tragic."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·