Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: Finland repatriates five member family from Syria

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On Friday 10 December 2021, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs repatriated a Finnish mother and her four children from Syria. All five had previously been in the al-Hol camp. They are now in the care of competent Finnish authorities.

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

The repatriated persons are members of the same family. One of the mother’s children has reached adulthood, the youngest is under five years of age. All five have previously been in the al-Hol camp. The family was repatriated from Syria via Turkey in cooperation with the Turkish authorities.

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

Since 2019, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has repatriated a total of 35 Finns, 26 children and nine adults, who were held in the al-Hol camp. A dozen Finns are still in the Syrian camps.

The camps in northeast Syria 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, as possible, to repatriate the Finnish children still detained in the camps.

Inquiries:

Media Coordination, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 40 551 6571, viestinta.um@formin.fi

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