There are hundreds of European children of ISIS/Daesh fighters, living in conflict areas in Syria and Iraq. Some of them are in refugee’s camps facing enormous risks and discrimination, while others are detained in terrible conditions together with adults, in need of urgent medical care.
I call on the EU member states to have coordinated policies to actively identify those children, search & rescue them from Syria and Iraq.
These children are European citizens and we cannot turn our back to them! It is important to bring these children back to Europe and provide them with the care they need and for their reintegration based on an individual assessment.
When finding solutions for these children the best interests of the child should always be the primary consideration, not domestic politics. This means they will need a specific framework adapted to their specific needs.
Member states must respect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Union Charter of Human Rights.
No child is born a terrorist; many of these European children are victim of their parents’ actions. These children cannot pay for the crimes committed by their parents.
We have to avoid a lost generation of children who have been radicalised or in the environment they live now are at risk of radicalisation.
Prevention and reintegration is also important from a security perspective as they could pose a threat on the long run by being recruited by terrorists and face a huge stigma where they are.
This is a complex and sensitive issue, but let us not forget that a child is first and foremost a child.
Anna Maria Corazza Bildt
European Parliament Coordinator on Children’s Rights