Rights group blasts Ottawa for not helping detained ISIL members, families


An international human rights group is calling on the federal government to repatriate dozens of Canadian men, women and children who are being detained in squalid camps in northeastern Syria.

Human Rights Watch says in a scathing report this morning that Ottawa is failing to live up to its international obligations by refusing to help the detainees because of their suspected links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

While the detainees include several high-profile ISIL members, the New York-based rights group says there are also at least 26 Canadian children in the camps, where food and water are in short supply and disease and abuse are rife.

One of those children is a five-year-old orphan known as Amira who was found on the side of a road last year after her family was reportedly killed in an airstrike.

Human Rights Watch says other countries have started to repatriate their citizens from the camps and is calling on Ottawa to do the same, with an immediate priority on bringing back children and their mothers.

The organization also says repatriation is the only way to hold Canadian ISIL members to account as there is no process in Syria to investigate and prosecute those suspected of crimes.