University of Ottawa Professor was part of a Northeast Syria delegation which has called on Canadian and international authorities to take urgent action in respect to consular assistance, repatriation, and engagement in support of justice and accountability in the region.
Neve, who is a Senior Fellow with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the Faculty of Social Sciences, was part of the four-person civil society team which held meetings with officials and visited Canadian men, women, and children, as well as non-Canadian mothers of Canadian children, who remain held in camps and detention centres in the region.
Their findings from the five-day visit call for the following action to be taken:
- Provide full consular support, including through in person visits, to all Canadians detained in camps and prisons in Northeast Syria.
- Engage with officials of the Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria (AANES) to repatriate all Canadians detained in camps and prisons in Northeast Syria, who wish to return to Canada.
- Issue Temporary Residence Permits to ensure that non-Canadian mothers and siblings of Canadian children detained in camps in Northeast Syria can travel to Canada.
- In collaboration with the international community, and AANES, provide resources, technical assistance, and all other necessary support to strengthen the justice response in Northeast Syria, including the capacity to carry out trials of individuals suspected of terrorism-related crimes in a manner that meets international human rights standards.
- In collaboration with the international community, and AANES, substantially increase support for meeting the humanitarian needs of the people in Northeast Syria, including but not limited to such areas as infrastructure, healthcare, education, and food and water.
“How outrageous it is, the mass, arbitrary detention of thousands of children in that camp, 13 Canadian citizen children with no hope to hang their dreams on.”
— Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Faculty of Social Sciences
“They languish, warehoused with thousands of other foreign nationals in detention centres across Northeast Syria, held beyond the reach of the law, far from outside scrutiny, in a detention regime that is devoid of any sense of accountability and in which human rights violations are, unsurprisingly, rampant. It has echoes of the widespread abuses we witnessed following September 11th,” said Neve, the former who Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.
“How outrageous it is, the mass, arbitrary detention of thousands of children in that camp, 13 Canadian citizen children with no hope to hang their dreams on. That our own government is so callously prepared to disregard the rights of children is stunning. We must stop believing we are powerless and begin shaping a completely different approach.”
The delegation members included Kim Pate, Canadian Senator; Scott Heatherington, retired Canadian diplomat; and Hadayt Nazami, immigration and human rights lawyer.