ISIL families detained in ‘sub-standard conditions’, says UN rights chief
Thousands of suspected foreign ISIL terrorist fighters and their families, being held in detention in Syria and Iraq, must be treated fairly by their captors and taken back by their home countries.
That’s according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, opening the latest session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
She said that more than 55,000 men, women and children have been rounded up since the fall of the self-styled “Caliphate” in the spring.
While most of these individuals are Syrian or Iraqi, she pointed out that “they also include alleged foreign fighters from nearly 50 countries”.
She noted that at least 11,000 suspected family members are still being held in north-eastern Syria’s Al Hol camp in what she called “deeply sub-standard conditions”.
Citing estimates by the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, the High Commissioner explained that there are 29,000 children of foreign fighters in Syria, two-thirds of whom originally came from Iraq, mostly under the age of 12.
Displacement challenges ‘cannot be done alone’
Also on Monday, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, announced that on 17 and 18 December it will be hosting the first-ever Global Refugee Forum in Geneva.
With tens of millions of people affected by war, conflict and persecution, the Forum will provide an opportunity for countries to take stock of the situation today and strengthen the international response.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that “refugee situations send ripples across entire regions and beyond”, pointing out that “dealing with displacement challenges cannot be done alone”, and requires a united vision among countries, coupled with concrete action.
“This is the goal of the Global Compact on Refugees and it is what we will be working towards” during the Forum, he spelled out.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres is expected to attend the event, which will be held at the Ministerial level and, among other things, focus on burden and responsibility-sharing; education; livelihoods; and protection.
New UN agriculture agency chief hails from China
On Sunday, the UN food and agriculture agency, FAO, elected Qu Dongyu, China’s agricultural deputy minister, to take the reins on 1 August.
Having received a total of 108 votes out of 191 cast, FAO’s 194-member countries chose Mr. Qu during its 41st annual conference in Rome.
The new FAO chief, who was born in 1963, is the first person from a communist country to hold the top job and the ninth Director-General since the Organization was founded in 1945.
Current chief José Graziano da Silva from Brazil, will complete his four-year term on 31 July.
As China’s vice-minister for agriculture, Mr. Qu worked on several rural development projects all over the world, during which time he was in close contact with many UN countries.