North Macedonia announced the return of 14 children and five women[i]. Belgium returned 10 children and six mothers[ii], while a mother and her two children were flown home to Finland[iii]. Meanwhile Kosovo has not revealed the exact number of children among 11 people it repatriated[iv].
Save the Children’s Syria Response Director, Sonia Khush said:
“This is brilliant news. It shows that when genuine political will exists, it is possible to save young and innocent lives. We also welcome the fact that mothers were repatriated along with their children. Tearing families apart can have detrimental consequences for children’s health.
“But the recent events are not enough. Countries of origin have to do more to take all children back home. Those children stuck in camps tell us how they do not even think about doing anything new in life. They can only worry about where their next meal is going to come from, and whether they will have clean water to drink or wash. No child deserves to be in these circumstances.
“We reiterate our calls for countries to make serious efforts to repatriate children safely in line with their obligations. Four countries have today shown that compassion and humanity can win, and we expect and invite others to show the same spirit.”
Save the Children Australia Deputy CEO Mat Tinkler said:
“The latest repatriations of children from Syria demonstrates, yet again, that it is possible to rescue our own citizens.
“The Kurdish authorities, the US administration and NGOs have all offered to help get the Australian children out of Syria.
“The only thing stopping the repatriation of the Australian children and their mothers is the lack of political will.
“It’s time the Australian Government repatriates these innocent children, before it’s too late.”
For media inquiries contact Anna Jabour on 0403 322 992