What is France waiting for to repatriate French children from Syria?

On February 24, 2022, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child found France guilty of violating the International Convention on the Rights of the Child by holding 200 children between barbed wire and directly subjecting them to inhuman treatment and humiliation. In essence – the UN Committee reminds – our country is really responsible for keeping these children and their mothers in these “Children’s Guantanamos” in north-eastern Syria, since only France has the power to repatriate them and refuses to do so to do. Our country therefore chooses to make innocent children pay for the guilt of their parents.

In 2019, France celebrated with great fanfare on the 30th th Anniversary of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and Emmanuel Macron’s speech was unanimously welcomed: “Thirty years ago, faithful to these struggles, France drafted, ratified and applied the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. She is still fighting for this convention to be ratified worldwide. We are the heirs of this history that we must continue to write. For this reason, France has been committed to this commitment every day for the last two and a half years. And now it goes even further by fighting contemporary struggles to protect children.”

300 children sat wisely next to the President and listened to him without saying a word about their vulnerability and the need to protect them. Then Emmanuel Macron addressed them directly: “Know your rights, speak up, free speech. But these struggles should not make you forget the innocence of childhood and happiness; the right to discover life, friendship, education. We need to help you grow. »

Thousands of miles away, more than 200 French children shiver in makeshift tents in camps riddled with violence and disease, battling temperatures near minus ten degrees. They have no “right to discover life, friendship and education” as there is no school and friendship is a luxury they cannot afford. They survive where France fails them and watch helplessly as their friends die or return to their countries with their mothers.

France does not help them to grow, but to die. Adrien Taquet, Secretary of State for Child Protection and occasional poet, stated during the first Child Protection Conference of his term:

“To be a child like any other

It means having the same rights as other children: the right to be in good health or to go to school.

It feels safe, it has a stable life.

It is that my word is heard and listened to.

It means being able to lead the life of a child my age.

It’s knowing how to count for someone, but also being able to count on someone, finally being able to project myself into the future. »

200 French children are slowly dying in northeastern Syria, and one day this sinister poem will refuse:

“To be the French child of a plague victim,

It means no longer having any rights: neither to health nor to going to school.

It should be exposed to insecurity, grow into violence, arbitrariness and death,

My word is seen denied and silenced.

It denies me the life of a child my age, robs me of my childhood.

It is knowing that I count for no one and even less for my country.

It ends up preventing me from projecting myself into the future. »

As of January 1, 2022, 77 women and children have returned home in Roj camp. Among them 63 Europeans (19 mothers and 44 children). Including no French. Since January 1st, 2021, 160 European mothers and children have returned to their countries. Among them 7 French children who were snatched from their mothers and left with their younger siblings in the Roj camp. It was 14 months ago. France has not repatriated anyone since January 2021. Not even the little orphan she made: Sara, 6, buried her mother at Camp Roj on December 14, 2021. I had asked for her mother’s medical evacuation more than 40 times to no avail. She died from lack of care. Sara has been watching all these friends go home with their mothers for three and a half months. She is all alone in the camp and France does not want to send her back. France is proud to promote the Convention on the Rights of the Child Abroad, which it has blithely flouted for years. But it is precisely these children who must first of all be saved and protected, because they are innocent of everything and victims of everyone. The shame how far?

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