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Statement on legal action to repatriate Australian children and their mothers from North East Syria

Save the Children Australia CEO Mat Tinkler comments on NGO’s role as litigation guardian in the case.
06 May 2023

“Save the Children has been instructed to act as litigation guardian for a group of innocent Australian children and their mothers who are seeking repatriation from camps in North East Syria.

“We have assembled a high-calibre legal team to prepare an application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of these Australians, who have now been trapped in the camps for more than four years.

“Save the Children has been encouraging the Australian Government at every available opportunity to bring home the remaining Australians, and working to avoid the prospect of legal action. 

“However, the families have become increasingly desperate, as the risks to their children’s health and safety grow with every day that passes. While litigation is a last resort, continued government inaction means the filing of the case is now imminent.

“Humanitarian, international legal and national security experts agree that the best course for the government is to urgently repatriate the Australian women and children from these camps. All those involved in the legal action are prepared to see it through to bring them home.”

Since 2019, international aid agency Save the Children has been calling for the urgent repatriation of Australian children marooned in North East Syria. About 40 Australians remain in the camps. 

Save the Children is acting as a litigation guardian in this matter as the plaintiffs are unable to properly instruct from North East Syria.


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