1 Canada must urgently secure the release of a five-year-old girl who has been stranded in Syria’s notorious Al Hol camp since her suspected extremist parents were killed, UN human rights monitors demanded on Wednesday.
2 Amira Kamil, a Canadian national, is one of over 40,000 children living in the camp in north-eastern Syria, which is overcrowded with a total of 70,000 people.
3 According to the UN experts, who monitor issues such as terrorism, arbitrary detention and mental health, children in Al Hol are deprived of liberty, and they lack access to food, water, sanitation, medical care and education.
4 “The children are also exposed to violence and exploitation,’’ the experts said in a statement issued in Geneva.
5 Amira’s parents, who are suspected to have been affiliated with Islamic State extremists, were reportedly killed in an airstrike in 2019.
6 “Canada should try harder to work with countries and organisations that have access to the camp to bring the girl home to her relatives.
7 “Children like Amira should be regarded primarily as victims and treated as such.
8 “They should not be punished because of the presumed behaviour or affiliation of their parents,’’ they added.
9 As people fled from Islamic State, the population of Al Hol exploded from about 10,000 at the start of 2019 to its current state.