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French in Syria: France accused of violating the Convention against Torture


The Committee against Torture had been seized on this subject in 2019, due to the non-repatriation of French nationals detained in Syria

By not repatriating the women and children detained in camps in Syria, France violates the Convention against Torture because the country has the "obligation" to protect them, according to a decision of the Committee against Torture.

Read alsoHow are repatriated women and children taken care of?

"The United Nations Committee against Torture confirms it: our country has chosen to abandon children and their mothers in war zones in full awareness of the suffering they endure and the violence to which they are exposed", reacts in a press release Me Marie Dosé, lawyer for the families of women and children detained in the camps in North-East Syria.

"One hundred and fifty children and their mothers face a fifth winter" in these camps under the control of Kurdish forces, she recalls.

The Committee had been seized in 2019 by families of these women and children, considering that France, by not repatriating them, violated Articles 2 and 16 of the Convention against Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.

A non-binding decision

The French State, in its observations sent to the UN committee and cited in the decision rendered on Thursday, considered in particular that the Convention did not require a country to protect its nationals in a territory which is not under its jurisdiction.

In addition, France "does not have the capacity to carry out repatriations" which do not depend "only (...) on the sole will of the government", advancing in particular the agreement of the authorities in the Syrian North-East and of the mothers .

These arguments were rejected by the Committee, which considers that even if the French State "is not at the origin of the violations suffered" by the women and children in the camps, "it always remains under the obligation" to protect them "against serious violations of human rights by taking all necessary and possible measures".

Not taking “effective measures” to protect them and not repatriating them “would constitute a violation (…) of the Convention”, concludes the Committee.

France has already been condemned in 2022 by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and then the European Court of Human Rights for its lack of action in the return of women and minors.

After years of case-by-case repatriations, France carried out two massive returns of women and minors in July and October.

The decision of this UN body is not binding, but France is invited to send it the decisions taken "to follow up (on its) observations" within 90 days.

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2023-01-21

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