Human rights group seeks return of 90 people held in Syria
Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on Government to bring home over 90 TT nationals, including about 56 children, who are detained in life-threatening conditions as Islamic State (ISIS) suspects and family members in northeast Syria.
The call is part of the report, Trinidad and Tobago: Bring Home Nationals from Northeast Syria, which HRW will be launching on Tuesday.
A release from the organisation said, “The government of TT has taken almost no steps to help them return, even as dozens of countries including the United States and Barbados repatriate some or many of their nationals.
“The report calls on the government to bring home its nationals for rehabilitation, reintegration, and prosecutions of adults as appropriate. Many children in other countries are successfully reintegrating after being brought home from northeast Syria, HRW has found.”
In August 2018, former minister of national security Stuart Young, set up a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency team, the Nightingale Team, to deal with the possible repatriation and reintegration of those citizens in Syria and Iraq.
There have been calls by the US and relatives to repatriate those in the camps, and Young said authorities were conducting verification and information gathering exercises on the refugees and that Team Nightingale would “ensure that the best decisions and actions are taken in the public’s interest.
The status of that team is unknown.
When ISIS collapsed in 2019, people learned that TT citizens were among those detained in detention camps by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. The majority of men died but a large number of the survivors were their wives and children who travelled to Syria and Iraq with their parents, as well as some who were born there of Trinidadian parentage.
It has been reported that they live in plastic tents through bitterly cold winters and extremely high temperatures in the hotter months. There are water and food shortages, poor sanitation and sometimes there are floods.
The launch will be moderated by Sterling Henderson, deputy head of news at Gem Radio Five, with contributions by Letta Tayler, associate crisis and conflict director and Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at HRW.
It will take place on February 28 at 10 am at Kapok Hotel, St Clair, Port of Spain.
"Human rights group seeks return of 90 people held in Syria"