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‘They feel abandoned’: Australians stuck in Syria file Federal Court repatriation case

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Key Points
  • Save the Children is filing a case in the Federal Court on behalf of a group of women and children stuck in Syria.
  • They want to be repatriated to Australia.
  • Many of the women involved are wives or widows of slain or jailed members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
More than two dozen Australian women and children trapped in dire conditions in Syria will file a Federal Court case to be repatriated.
The case will be filed by Save the Children Australia on Monday, on behalf of 17 children and nine women, who critics say have been subjected to inhumane living conditions in detention camps for more than four years.
Many of the women involved are either wives or widows of slain or jailed members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State and either travelled to Syria by force or voluntarily.
Their children, some of whom were born in Syria, are not receiving appropriate care and medical attention.

Save the Children Australia chief executive Mat Tinkler said innocent people were living in despair and are desperate to return home.

He urged the federal government to intervene.
“These are innocent children, who are being punished for the alleged actions of their parents,” Mr Tinkler said.
“As Australian citizens, they deserve the same opportunities as every other Australian child. They simply want to come home, attend school and most of all, feel safe.”
During a visit to Roj camp in the northeast last year, Mr Tinkler said he saw children with untreated shrapnel wounds living with crippling and unmedicated pain.

He saw others suffering acute emotional distress, severe dental decay, stunting, and multiple other health conditions.

following the repatriation of eight children in 2019.
Mr Tinkler said this shows Australia is capable of providing its citizens help when needed.
“The repatriations last October raised the remaining children’s hopes that they too would soon be out of harm’s way,” he said.
“Instead, they feel they have been abandoned by their country and are losing hope for the future.”

Save the Children Australia is acting as litigation guardian in the case, which occurs when a litigant does not have the capacity to conduct their own litigation.


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