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Finland repatriated two children and one mother from Syria

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Publication date 16.7.2021 16.41
Press release

On Friday 16 July 2021, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs repatriated two Finnish children and their mother from Roj camp in northeast Syria. All three persons are Finnish citizens. The children are under school age. They are now in the care of competent Finnish authorities.

Finnish authorities have a constitutional obligation to safeguard the fundamental rights of the Finnish children held in the camps as far as possible. The only way to safeguard the fundamental rights of children held in northeast Syria is to bring them to Finland.

The mother of the two children was also repatriated. It was not possible to repatriate only the children. In all official activities, priority has been given to the best interests of the child.

Approximately a dozen Finnish children and a few mothers remain detained in the camps in Syria. Approximately 900 EU citizens – 600 children and 300 women – are still in the camps. Nearly 62,000 people are currently kept in the camps: approximately 59,000 in Al-Hol camp and approximately 2,700 in Roj camp.

The camps in northeast Syria continue to constitute a serious, long-term security risk. The longer the children are kept in the camps without protection and education, the harder it will be to fight violent extremism and radicalisation.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs intends to repatriate the Finnish children still detained in the camps as soon as possible.

Inquiries: Media Coordination, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 40 551 6571