Children – not terrorists! Bringing children home from ISIL

An estimated 4640 children travelled to Iraq or Syria, either alone or with their families, to join the so-called Islamic State (ISIL). Since the fall of the terrorist group, many of them live in displacement camps under deplorable conditions. They have not only been victims of recruitment or trafficking, but also witnessed extreme violence and indoctrination. We call on State authorities for an urgent response to guarantee their rights.

Before and after the proclamation of the caliphate of the so-called Islamic State in 2014, people from over 80 countries travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the terrorist group. Taken unwillingly or recruited, children have been used to carry weapons, guard strategic locations, arrest civilians, but have also been subject to sexual violence, forced marriage, or were exploited in suicide bombings.

With the defeat of ISIL, their nightmare is not over: in the al-Hol camp in Northern Syria which hosts most of the displaced people from ISIL occupied territories and relatives of ISIL fighters, 371 children died in 2019 as a result of the deplorable living conditions.

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