A Belgian MEP has called for a humanitarian corridor to be established to return Europe’s children of the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Hilda Vautmans was speaking after a special screening of a Euronews documentary on the topic in Strasbourg today (October 22).
The programme follows the children of those involved with IS, one of the world’s most brutal terrorist organisations.
It exposes the disturbing moral dilemma facing European governments: should Europe’s children of IS be held responsible for the crimes their parents committed?
Thousands of women and children linked to Europeans who fought for IS live in detention camps in north-east Syria.
“If I can make a political conclusion from this it’s very clear that we need humanitarian corridors to get back the children and we leave the parents there,” said Vautmans.
Vautmans argues it’s Europe’s duty to bring them back.
“I don’t think the children need to pay for the sins of their parents (…), and also, don’t forget it, it’s for our security, if we leave the children there, it’s not unthinkable that they will return, but as criminals.
“Some countries did repatriate some children but they’re not being too loud about it. The public opinion is really against it, that’s the biggest problem: people don’t want the children to come back, so it’s difficult for countries to take the decision,” added Vautmans.
This, she says, is a reason why it would be better dealt with by Europe as a whole.
MEP Costas Mavrides, from Cyprus, claimed there was a lack of apparent remorse in the mothers and IS wives stranded at the camps.
“And that scares me more. I would agree that the repatriation of children is quite different than the repatriation of the adults,” he added.