Human Rights Watch has criticised the detention of 43,000 men, women, and children in northeast Syria “often with the explicit or implicit consent of their countries of nationality.”
These foreign men, women, and children linked to Daesh are kept in camps and the men in squalid prisons and rehabilitation centres.
The camps have been described as having “horrific and sub-human conditions” by the UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism, Ni Aolain, and “may reach the threshold of torture.”
There are acute shortages of clean water, food, and medicine and they are ravaged by violence and unsafe conditions.
Governments should be helping to fairly prosecute detainees suspected of serious crimes and free everybody else, not helping to create another Guantanamo
said Human Rights Watch.
The rights watchdog said that governments may be complicit in the unlawful detention and collective punishment of thousands of people including women and children.
After speaking to eight foreign women detained in camps for relatives of suspected Daesh members, they revealed that guards had confiscated their Qur’ans, threatened women for wearing the niqab, and raided their tents at night.
Women with mobile phones or accused of withholding information about crimes were beaten and jailed.
Human Rights Watch is calling for detainees in northeast Syria to be provided with due process and the right to contest their detention before a judge and to repatriate detainees not charged with a crime.
Children should be accompanied by their parents and once at home, provided with rehabilitation and reintegration services. Children and trafficked women should be treated as victims, it added.
Earlier this month a four-year-old Canadian girl was flown home after spending two years in a detention camp leaving her mother behind, who was not allowed to return.
Foreign governments and donors should increase aid and improve the camp and prison conditions continued HRW.
Western countries have attracted widespread criticism for refusing to repatriate their citizens held in these camps.