‘Sheer Obliteration of the Human Rights’ is what the 12 United Nations Agencies wrote is the impact on Australian Muslim Women and Children trapped in North-East Syria.

This is due to the lack of action of the Australian Government to repatriate over 60 Australians, including more than 40 children that are held as detainees.

They are being held without charge or reason in what the United Nations has claimed: “meet the standard of torture or other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The United Nations Special Committees wrote to the Australian Government in February 2022, and only publicly released the correspondence on the 17 April 2022, along with the Australian Government Response.  

These Australian Muslim Women and children suffer from very limited access to health services, nutritious food, safe drinking water, and education. The children, who are first and foremost victims of the conflict, exhibit significant trauma signs. It is a miracle in itself that an Australian Child has not died, which is a testimony to the resolve of the mothers to keep their children safe.

The UN letter reinforced that Australia must treat children primarily as victims, stating, “No child is responsible for the circumstances of their birth and cannot be punished, excluded, deemed unworthy of human rights protection by virtue of the status or acts of their parents.”

The UN is unequivocal in its position to the Government “repatriation to Australia of all individuals who are citizens of your Excellency’s State is the only legal and humane response to the complex and precarious human rights, humanitarian and security situation faced by those currently deprived of their liberty in North-East Syria.”

These statements by the UN are the most robust possible language used, and the strength of the position has even surprised local human rights groups.

The position of the UN reflects the information supplied by local families and that of Save the Children with reports of shrapnel wounds that cannot be treated in the detention centre and serious health underlying and new health conditions.

The letter lists numerous international agreements and conventions being broken by the lack of action by the Australian Government.

The Foreign Minister, Ms Marise Payne, on 17 April 2022, the day the letter was publicly released, said on the ABC Insiders program, ‘these matters for the protection of all Australians and that includes here.

I wouldn’t go into the specifics of any intelligence, of course.’ Without evidence, illuding that children as young as 3 years of age are a security risk to the public.

However, in its formal response, the Australian Government acknowledged that it was concerned about the welfare of Australians but that it was not its responsibility as they were outside its jurisdiction.

The United Nations now have written taking an independent, strong position on this issue, reinforcing the families’ calls, that of the Save the Children, numerous other human rights groups, and some Muslim organisations.

Is this not an important enough election issue for Australian Muslims and their representative organisation to demand their repatriation in the current election. It’s a shame that the human rights of children and their mothers depends on local political fortunes.