Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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Government: It is unreasonable to take action in Syrian concentration camps

In February, the UN called on Sweden to take home Swedish citizens who are in al Hol and Roj in northeastern Syria. According to the UN, Sweden has not fulfilled its obligations under international human rights law.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) replies in a letter that the issue is of the highest priority with the government, which is doing its utmost to find a solution to the situation, but opposes breaking the law.

Wants to take the children home

Based on the circumstances, Sweden does not consider itself obliged to take home the citizens who are in the Syrian camps.

“When it comes to the children who have connections to Sweden, the goal is for them to be brought home to Sweden,” writes Foreign Minister Carl Magnus Nesser in the letter.

It is not as willing to bring the women home, as it is possible that they have committed serious crimes – among other things through contact with IS.

The general attitude of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria (AANES) is stated to be not to separate the children from their mothers, which has made it difficult to bring them home. This could be done if the mothers give their consent, the government says.

No obligations under law

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As the citizens are not on Swedish soil, the state’s right to act does not apply, and according to the government, the situation in the detention camps is not considered to be of the kind that can be exempted from the jurisdiction and fall within the territorial law.

In the letter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes that it would therefore be “unreasonable for the Swedish state to take measures in a situation where control is not exercised”.

Save the Children Critical

Save the Children’s observer in the question, Jon Bergeå, is very critical of the Swedish answer.

– Sweden makes a different assessment than the UN and ends up on the wrong side of the issue. I am not surprised but deeply concerned, he tells TT.

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Separating the children from the mothers is not an option, as it is legally impossible, according to Bergå, who points out that such a decision must be subject to appeal.

– It is unworthy not to take responsibility for the children. We have a good reputation when it comes to children’s rights and we usually listen to the UN. Our reputation can be damaged, Bergeå fears.

SVT has sought Foreign Minister Ann Linde who declined an interview with SVT.

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