This policy paper highlights the plight of children originating from other countries who are being held in camps and prisons in North-Eastern Syria and Iraq and aims to elucidate obligations of UN Member States towards them. These children are currently being held in camps set up to accommodate individuals and families who previously lived under ISIS and other associated terrorist groups in the region and prisons in Iraq. As victims of conflict who were either brought to or born in the area, these children remain extremely vulnerable and face multiple violations of their rights under international law.
The international conventions, treaties, declarations and resolutions contain the minimum obligations agreed upon by the States, which they must guarantee to the population in its territory (ratione loci) and outside of it (ratione personae). Their relevance to the particular situation of children being deprived of their liberty in Syria and Iraq lies in giving substance to rights to ensure their safety, inter alia, access to justice, a life free from violence and minimum conditions of detention. The relevant aspects of these instruments are laid out in this policy paper and are offered as a guide to subsequent action by States, providing both the impetus for and information pertinent to the necessary features of any intervention.