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Can We Repatriate the ISIS Children?

ICSVE Panel Discussion featuring Ambassador Peter Galbraith, Beatrice Erikson, and Anne Speckhard, Director ICSVE.

As of 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] was holding approximately 10,000 children of foreign terrorist fighters [FTFs] in Camp Hol, Camp Ain Issa, and Camp Roj, along with their mothers. A lot has changed since then. Turkey’s onslaught into SDF territory in late 2019 led to the destruction of Camp Ain Issa and the escape of many women and children from that camp. Some women and children have been repatriated to their home countries, with much public outcry, while others are left languishing in the camps. Some countries have expressed openness to repatriating orphans; others have claimed that the situation in Syria is too dangerous for their officials to travel there and retrieve the children. Now, in the time of COVID-19, circumstances are even more dire in the cramped SDF camps with little access to healthcare. Likewise, ISIS enforcers are still active in the camps threatening women and children who have disavowed ISIS, with murders even occurring in Camp al Hol.

What can be done to save these ISIS children? Some were born in ISIS and have never known a life outside of the ISIS Caliphate and the camps. Others were brought by their parents to ISIS and are old enough to have been indoctrinated in ISIS schools, camps and daily life in the Caliphate. Either way, they are never chose to enter ISIS, and the longer they stay in the camps, they become more likely to be traumatized by ISIS enforcers who burn their tents and throw stones at them as punishment for their mothers’ defections from ISIS, or to be taught by their own mothers to continue the cycle of hate. Even at the most basic physical level, they are at risk of dying from typhus, malnutrition and now COVID.

Western countries claim not to punish children for the crimes of their parents, yet when British-born Shamima Begum begged her government to take her baby home, her pleas were ignored, and he died soon after, with the UK government citing the dangers of going to retrieve a child and stripping of Shamima’s citizenship. The legal and political implications surrounding the repatriation of ISIS children are many, but perhaps there are far greater moral repercussions and perhaps even long-term danger of not repatriating them.

ICSVE director Dr. Anne Speckhard, Ambassador Peter Galbraith, and Beatrice Erikson spoke at 11 am EDT on June 24th, 2020, during a lively discussion about repatriation of ISIS children. Each of the speakers has experience facilitating successful repatriations of ISIS children to the West and shared their experiences regarding working with governments and the SDF to do so. They also addressed the legal, psychosocial and psychological issues of working toward repatriation; the consequences of taking a child away from his or her mother, even if the mother is an ISIS member; what the issues are when mothers give consent to return their children alone; what happens when they return; providing therapy and trauma counseling for children who have witnessed and experienced atrocities; and the possibilities of deradicalizing older children who have been taught to hate or who have actually committed crimes.

Ambassador Peter Galbraith is an author, academic, commentator, politician, policy advisor, and former United States diplomat. From 1993 to 1998, he served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, where he was co-mediator of the 1995 Erdut Agreement that ended the Croatian War of Independence. He was a cabinet member in East Timor’s first transitional government, successfully negotiating the Timor Sea Treaty. In 2009, Ambassador Galbraith was an Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations serving as Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan. Ambassador Galbraith served two terms as a Vermont State Senator from Windham County from 2011 to 2015, and was a candidate for Governor of Vermont in 2016. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books on the Iraq War, including the bestselling The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End. Ambassador Galbraith argues that Iraq has broken up into three parts, allowing for Kurdistan’s independence. In the 1980s, Galbraith uncovered the beginnings of the Anfal campaign against the Iraqi Kurds and, in 1988, documented the use of chemical weapons, leading the US Senate to pass comprehensive sanctions legislation (“The Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988”) authored by Galbraith. He was in Kurdistan during the 1991 uprising and his reports–including video footage of the uprising’s collapse – contributed to the US decision to create a safe area. Beginning in 2003, Ambassador Galbraith was an informal advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq, supporting the Kurdistan delegation in the drafting process of the 2005 Iraqi Constitution. He is on the Board of Directors of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the research arm of the Council for a Livable World.

Beatrice Erikson, from Sweden, is a social worker and co-founder and chairman of Repatriate The Children Sweden (RTC). The NGO was founded in May 2020 as a response on a need that one of the co-founders of this NGO, Patricio Gálvez, sought to save his seven orphaned grandchildren in al-Hol camp during the spring of 2019. Repatriate the Children appeals to Sweden to implement the Convention of the Rights of the Child in practice by bringing home the children belonging to Sweden under controlled protocols to safety and security with an organized reception that takes into account the children’s needs and creates the conditions for rehabilitation and integration out of the best interest of the child. Repatriate the Children has a supportive, advisory and knowledge raising function for relatives of children trapped in north east Syria, politicians and policy makers, authorities, non-profit organizations and the media. Repatriate the Children is a nationally based organization with both a national and international perspective of collaboration. We encourage engaged individuals in other countries to start their own Repatriate the Children organizations, and for existing organizations in this issue to be part of creating a global network of associations that work towards the common goal to repatriate the children. 

Dr. Anne Speckhard, Director of ICSVE has in-depth interviewed over 700 terrorists and their close associates, family members and hostages if they have been suicide bombers (and already dead) from various parts of the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, Europe and the Balkans.  Most recently she in-depth interviewed 239 ISIS prisoners, returnees and defectors. In 2007 she designed the psychological and Islamic challenge portions of what became the Detainee Rehabilitation Program to be applied to 23,000 detainees and 800 juveniles held by the U.S. forces in Iraq.  She has consulted and conducted research regarding terrorism in prisons around the world. Dr. Speckhard moderated the panel.

The ICSVE report inspired by this panel is published here.

This is the third discussion in this series of panels discussing ISIS Foreign Fighters. The first panel: Issues of ISIS Prisoners and Repatriations in a Time of COVID has been recorded and can be watched here. The second panel: Can an ISIS Terrorist be Rehabilitated and Repatriated into Society? has been recorded and can be watched here.

Chat Log

Video available here

10:59:13  From RAJENDRA SENCHUREY : Hello everyone, Namaste from Nepal. So, the long await is going to be over in a minute now. Can’t wait to listen to the speakers!!!

10:59:48  From lorenzabacino : Lovely Nepal, I am very fond of the country

11:00:14  From Federica Argurio : Italy here

11:00:21  From RAJENDRA SENCHUREY : Is it? I wish you could visit Nepal once 

again after this crisis is over.

11:00:26  From harjit.sandhu : Hello Anne and everyone. This is Harjit Sandhu from Rome.

11:00:52  From lorenzabacino : spent time there during the ‘revolution’ actually Rajendra, was a crazy and interesting time

11:01:33  From Figen Murray : Thank you for putting these events on. They are brilliant and it is a privilege to be able to participate and listen.

11:01:40  From Jan Helge Kalvik : Good to see you Anne!

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Really great to see so many friends and colleagues and you are most welcome for these events; it is our pleasure and also of our funders (EU and Embassy of Qatar in the US) to make these events to spread knowledge and to have stimulating discussions among us.  In some ways COVID did us a favor to bring us together in these ways from all around the world.

11:01:41  From lorenzabacino : and I would love to return @rajendra

11:02:24  From RAJENDRA SENCHUREY : I can imagine that Lorenz. Things are getting better now, yet the post-conflict justice issues have been long neglected, resulting to the cycle of violence.

11:03:19  From ABU SARA : good luck

11:06:47  From mollyellenberg : Here is a link to ICSVE’s YouTube counter narrative videos, with playlists in various languages:

11:07:03  From OPONDO FELIX : Really timely because there are legal issues in the  repatriation. Are they VE because they were born of VE parents? Are they not innocent? WHERE DO THEY BELONG WHEN YOU apply the domicile laws?

Anne Speckhard (after the event)  As was mentioned during the event some of the mothers have children from different fathers and those countries may feel some obligation to repatriate children from EU fathers for instance, but the mothers do not have that citizenship or their children would be going in other directions…  It’s very complicated.  I think we can safely say children under 10 must be considered innocent and older ones are still children.  

11:07:13  From iPhone : Hi from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where we are currently working with 7 female returnees and 13 children. Eager to learn more about other countries’ experiences.

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Whoever this is I’d love to hear more about your work in Sarajevo.  ICSVE has worked in the Balkans but not in Bosnia yet…

11:07:31  From Dr. Lisa McConnell : Makes you wonder when the rights of the child (fundamental human rights) supersede those of the parent.

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Perhaps a better way of thinking of it is that all democratic countries and those holding high values should place a high priority on protecting children, particularly children who are their citizens or who would be eligible for citizenship.

11:09:55  From demi : Hi Anne, great to see you again! It’s Demi from UNODC.

11:10:34  From demi : FYI, here’s UN key principle re returning women and children:

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Thank you Demi, who does great work for the UN on these issues.

11:12:07  From Sharzad Khider : hello, I’m sharzad khider from Iraq

about 3600 orphans yazide children’s

11:12:26  From Sharzad Khider : because of ISIS group

Anne Speckhard (after the event)  Yazidi women who were kidnapped and raped by ISIS men can go home and there are some really lovely rituals held for them to cleanse them and help them re-enter their communities, but their children are not allowed to come home so some women place them in orphanages and suffer a lot from this horrific choice between returning home and abandoning their children born of rape.

11:13:45  From Khawla’s iPhone : Hi from Amman , Jordan . Thank you for taking this great event

11:14:49  From Sara ben abdelouahab : Thank you for having us! sorry for being late it’s a real pleasure! Hello from South Wales – Swansea.

11:15:13  From Brian Feldman Clough : Hi everyone from the USA, Spokesperson for Repatriate the Children – USA.

11:15:50  From Dr. Carmen Navarro  : Hello from California, United States.  Thank you Anne for hosting this meeting. Researcher and academic, Dr. Carmen Navarro.

11:16:13  From ICSVE : Someone asked for permission to record.  We record and it will be on the web soonest.

11:19:34  From Euro Mernet : Hello everyone! Greetings from Brighton, UK. Thanks Anne for hosting this meeting. We would like to cover this event on our community radio show tomorrow. Will some short audio segments be available to us within the next 20 hours? Many thanks Umit Ozturk, Coordinator & Editor, EuroMernet.

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Sorry I didn’t see this chat, but yes of course.

11:20:38  From ICSVE : So good to see so many that I know!  This is an important point that Ambassador Galbraith is raising of normally a person would be tried where the crime was committed, but this is balanced by Assad’s government is not just and SDF is not a recognized state

11:20:58  From Tasnime Akunjee : the schooling is by the radicals in the camp 

11:21:03  From ellievhall : Hello to all from DC! Ellie Hall from BuzzFeed News here. Thank you to Anne and ICSVE for arranging this event — such an incredibly important issue.

11:21:47  From Insp Toolah Julien : Good day all greetings from Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. Thanks for this event and the dissemination of the information.

11:21:50  From Dr. Lisa McConnell : What age ranges are you grouping these children?

11:21:51  From Sharzad Khider : until now part of yazide children’s are living in Hol camp from Syria (Rojava)

11:21:54  From ICSVE : Hi Ellie, Hi Khwala, Demi, Lisa, Omar, Opondo, and all :)

11:22:07  From ICSVE : I’d love to hear more about your Balkans initiatives

11:22:56  From Peta Lowe : what assessments or screening is being used for children that have been removed from those camps in previous IS territory?

Anne Speckhard (after the event)  Peta most often in my experience they are screened at home by justice and social work services who decide on what’s best for the child.  I think every country has their own procedures and this is totally new for most.

11:24:46  From Sara ben abdelouahab : i’m a masters student in security studies focusing on CT and CVE – EU project intern  – my personal project research include the repatriation of foreign fighters – convert radicalization (undergraduate thesis base )- veteran radicalization – convert radicalization – for my thesis I’m working on militarization of AI …

11:26:05  From Sara ben abdelouahab : Converts are some of the most extreme – in roles- functions –  convictions … etc…

11:29:07  From ICSVE : Often times converts have cut ties with their families and also have little understanding of Islam so they are tricked into believing lies and really need to belong and also want to prove themselves.

Anne Speckhard (after the event)  Many converts that got caught up in violent extremism told me the above and also said their recruiters told them they couldn’t understand the Quran in their own language and should trust the recruiters interpretation.  Without a strong grounding or others to ask about things they are being fed they can easily be led astray.

11:29:13  From Sara ben abdelouahab : if anyone has additional information – links – articles-  on the perpetrator of the « Reading » terror attack – a convert ! please share with me on: I use micro theories a lot (a bit of a case by case approach really). Thank you all.

11:30:54  From Sara ben abdelouahab : True !

11:30:56  From Dr. Lisa McConnell : How is political will balanced with humanity?                                                                                    How does gender determine the likelihood for repatriation? Zero-risk is unlikely to achieve: what is the best framework to repatriate?  

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Lisa most countries have been more willing to take women back but after Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana surrendered there was a lot of press about things they had said and countries began seeing the women as more dangerous as well.  And in some cases women are dangerous, but not all. Zero-risk is not possible in most scenarios.                                   

11:31:40  From Halil Simsek [Germany] : Thats true Peter. our experience here is a lot of different

11:32:32  From Halil Simsek [Germany] : the goverment spent a lot effort for the children

11:33:33  From Sara ben abdelouahab : France has just repatriated 10 children a few days ago!

11:34:40  From Zora A. Sukabdi : Agreed with Sara, it’s a case by case approach

11:42:13  From Nils Christian Nordhus : Thank you for great initiative and important information.  Regards from Oslo, Norway, Nils Christian Nordhus and Mads Harlem 

11:44:38  From harjit.sandhu : Thanks a million to Anne, Molly and the team of ICSVE for organizing these talks. Great speakers, with hands-on experience and knowledge. With greetings and best wishes from the beautiful Rome, Harjit Sandhu

11:49:11  From Jan Helge Kalvik : Thanks to all participants and ICSVE with partners for giving this important issue a global focus, and lifting it up from the national level. Well done! Jan Helge Kalvik / Defence and Intelligence Norway.

11:50:46  From demi : Yes, exactly Beatrice. States have responsibility over their own nationals, and children have right to nationality.

Anne Speckhard (after the event)  One of the commenters, I think Emmanuel said that children have a right to citizenship in the country in which they were born, but I believe that goes by each nation’s laws.  In France citizenship is conferred by blood, in the US by being born there, etc. But if a child is citizenship eligible it seems unfair to deny it.  Likewise when the mother or father has his citizenship stripped there is the legal issue of how does that affect the child’s right to gain his or her own citizenship?

11:51:12  From dina sinigallia’s iPhone : the urgency is all the more important as we have seen NES undergo serious turmoil since last year with access windows closing regularly. Covid right now is further impacting freedom of movement and access. The windows of opportunity need to be used when they are there.

Anne Speckhard (after the event) This is an important point.  Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria and constant threat against the SDF has really destabilized the region, also pushing the SDF to broker a deal with Assad’s government.  If the detainees end up in Assad’s hands the future of these children could become very dire.

11:51:27  From Federica Argurio : are you repatriating the children or also the parents? 

11:52:54  From demi : Key principles in the UN framework: All measures taken by Member States for the protection, prosecution, repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration of women and children should be in compliance with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law, as well as international standards and relevant Security Council resolutions.

Anne Speckhard (after the event) The UN urges countries to repatriate the children and to recognize documents like birth certificates issued by ISIS in order to give the kids official documents. If a parent has their citizenship stripped, it is extremely difficult for the child to get citizenship if they were born in ISIS. They also urge countries not to take children back without the mothers, saying it’s not in the best interest of the child.

11:54:10  From Peta Lowe : How many children have you repatriated??

11:54:20  From Peter Galbraith : The ISIS women are not refugees

11:55:01  From demi : Member States have primary responsibility for their own nationals. They should ensure that their citizens suspected of having committed crimes on the territory of another Member State are treated in accordance with international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law, including through the provision of consular assistance.

11:56:03  From Brian Feldman Clough : Thank you very much Anne, Peter and my colleague Beatrice for this very important seminar. If you would like to get involved with Repatriate the Children – USA, please contact us at – Brian Feldman, Spokesperson for Repatriate the Children – USA

11:56:19  From demi : The right to nationality is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in numerous treaties ratified by many States.Safeguards and processes that protect people from becoming stateless must be in place. All individuals have the right to a name, an identity and a nationality, and arbitrary deprivation of nationality is prohibited under international law. Pursuant to some of these treaties, women should have the right to bestow their own nationality onto their children. Additionally, Member States should accept their nationals and children born to their nationals, grant those children nationality, and take actions to prevent them from becoming stateless. Member States should ensure women and children have appropriate documentation, can return, and in no circumstances, by act or omission, implement policies that effectively render children stateless.

11:58:03  From Maha Ghazi : Well said Mr. Emmanuel 

11:59:03  From johanrobertssonlind : Wonderfull to see so many attend this event  – and the launch of Repatriate the Children!

11:59:09  From OPONDO FELIX : This is true and touches on international law especially the private international law and any decision needs to take that into account. The application of the conflict of laws is critical and mentioned by Emmanuel. Thank you Emmanuel for bringing this up

11:59:12  From MailletteN : Thank you Emanuel. Your input clarifies this situation. The legal aspect can be a challenge. 

12:01:29  From Kim S : @Beatrice Eriksson would you mind sharing your contact details? Thanks

12:01:36  From Zora A. Sukabdi : Emmanuel: Nicely put. Thank you for clarifying 

12:04:21  From Audrey : @Kim S

12:06:12  From mollyellenberg : Here is our recent article on women paying to be smuggled out of Camp Hol, fundraising and promoting ISIS on Instagram:

12:06:28  From Dr. Lisa McConnell : The failure of the international community to repatriate these children ought to be offensive to all who value life. Global compact, codes of conduct and initiatives are designed to fail – mistaking momentum for meaningful movement. Systematic dysfunction reigns.                         I cannot help but wonder what level of personal trauma must occur and be sustained (because of neglect at best, intention at worst) and when radicalization will be activated (without the assistance needed to deescalate and deradicalize) to produce significant global trauma leading to justice and meaningful action. 

12:06:56  From harjit.sandhu : Thank you Sinam for raising a very valid point. Some of these kids in few years may become a deadly force, if not handled well now. I have spoken to some of the child soldiers in conflict areas. One 12 year old child I spoke to in Sierra Leone in 2000, said he lost count of people he killed. By the time he became part of a DDR programme, he had killed far too many innocent people.

12:08:16  From sisch : Hi. I’m Kerstin from Berlin. Could you please comment a Little bit on the role of Turkey in the issue, as many women try to flee to Turkey obviously to live there illegally or try to cross to other countries from there, together with their Children. 

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Please see our new article that outlines some of how the smuggling operations work in which women and children are paying to be smuggled out of Camp Hol, fundraising and promoting ISIS on Instagram:

12:08:51  From Ben Ramkaj : thank you i m Ben Ramkaj from Interreligious Collaboration Center Albania.My mail is 

12:09:07  From OPONDO FELIX : Can we clarify the issues of domicile. This is because there are international laws that guide this process. The dilemma of the mothers return where they could have been stripped of the citizenship and the child’s right to return need to be resolved. their return or stay should not be looked at in terms of public opinion which is biased but from purely legal basis. 

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Unfortunately politicians are very sensitive to public opinion and will often avoid risks that may result in them losing office.

12:09:18  From Jon Bergeå : Sinam, thank you so much for this. I have a question for clarification, if Sweden would agree to bring the Swedish kids home with their mothers, would you let them go now?

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Sinam has answered this earlier to me saying that the autonomous administration now wants to try the women in Syria but that for humanitarian or health reasons they could be allowed to be repatriated.  As Sinam pointed out the SDF and autonomous administration have requested countries to take back their ISIS members for years now.

12:09:42  From Zora A. Sukabdi : Sinam, thank you. What do you think about trial in absentia proposed in some countries?

12:10:39  From Halil Simsek [Germany] : Anyone wants to get connected via LinkedIn feel free to send an Invite.

12:11:38  From wladimirvanwilgenburg : If the Swedish govt picks up the mother and kids and signs a paper there is no issue.

12:11:47  From wladimirvanwilgenburg : they already picked up some Swedish kids.

12:15:51  From Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims : what has been the impact of covid on this issue please?

12:16:00  From Dr. Lisa McConnell : The agenda of the UN through 2030 is women in peace and security. How has gender (female children) affected repatriation? Is a female child more likely to be repatriated over a male child?

12:16:28  From Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims : in your view?

12:18:15  From Dr. Lisa McConnell : WHO determines best interest – 

12:18:50  From Dr. Lisa McConnell : Competing interests – resources – financing – political will – agendas – it’s a mess

12:20:33  From Halil Simsek [Germany] : blessings :)

12:21:42  From OPONDO FELIX : I think Peter has a point in asking the most important question whether the mothers have the best interest of the children if they are exposing the children? Though this the spirit of the law but we can use the same law to enforce the separation between the mother and the child.

12:22:37  From sisch : Exactly, Anne. Thank you, for this Point. 

12:22:42  From Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims : Anne I don’t see the paper you mention was posted. was it accidentally posted in private? can it be reposted please? thank you

12:23:48  From mollyellenberg : Here it is again:

12:25:38  From Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims : many thanks :)

12:26:15  From sisch : In Germany there is a precedent that 1 year in Al Hol corresponds to 2 or 3 years in German prison. This means that if the women are not repatriated and come to court in Germany or elsewhere, they will soon be free anyway and “travel on” with their children. Which implications will this have for the Children?

Anne Speckhard (after the event) I too heard from Germans that time in prisons in Iraq and Syria could be counted against sentences.  For highly radicalized and still committed women who could return with their children this is an issue that requires that rehabilitation programs be very good and effective to turn people around in a short time.  That is a significant challenge.

12:26:47  From wladimirvanwilgenburg : Do you have more info about that sisch? a link?

12:27:56  From sinam Mohamad : thank you all, we have to follow up this issue ,it is so complicated one.

12:28:10   From sisch : I will try to find it, Wladimir. I heard this fact from our colleagues from the HAYAT Counselling Service, and they have quite reliable info on such Things.

12:31:20  From sisch : here is some moree info:

12:31:38  From harjit.sandhu : Very well said, Peter.

12:31:52  From Agnes Netter : Thank you

12:31:54  From DianaMackiewicz : Thank you Anne,  Peter, Beatrice, Sinam, Emmanuel, Tasnimee, and all others…

12:32:00  From ABU SARA : Thank you

12:32:03  From Sanyu Ndagire : Thanks so much for this.

12:32:08  From Zora A. Sukabdi : Thank you Anne for hosting this. Regards from Indonesia

12:32:09  From macbookpro : Thank you so much for organising.

12:32:09  From giorgiatiscini : Thank you

12:32:11  From ellievhall : Thank you so much, everyone!

12:32:18  From Euro Mernet : Thanks a lot to all of you – the organiser friends and contributors! 

12:32:18  From Rod Dubrow-Marshall : Thank you Anne, Peter, Beatrice and all contributors!

12:32:19  From Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims : thank you so much

12:32:22  From Halil Simsek [Germany] : Thanks Anne. See you again, Hopefully

12:32:23  From CVE Center Albania : Thank you for sharing all the knowledge!

12:32:23  From Isa Haskologlu : Thank you all

12:32:24  From harjit.sandhu : Thank you speakers and ICSVE.

12:32:28  From wladimirvanwilgenburg : Thanks a lot

12:32:29  From Dr. Zoe D. Fine : Thank you, all! This was a fantastic and very necessary event.

12:32:29  From Figen Murray : thank you so much. 

12:32:30  From demi : Thank you Anne, Peter, Beatrice, Sinam and all contributors. Great discussion!

Anne Speckhard (after the event) Thank you to all our participants.  We all learn together on these difficult and challenging issues. Hope to see you again at future events.  Thanks for your thoughtful comments and discussion.

Beatrice Erikson (after the event) During the year that has passed since the seven orphaned grandchildren of Patricio Galvéz were repatriated to Sweden, they have recovered in an incredible way. The youngest one of them, who at the time when he was found in April 2019 was bad ridden and had the wight of less than 3 kilos, despite the fact he was 1.5 years old, has now started to talk and is running around playing as any other child. If you would see these children now, you wouldn’t almost be able to recognise them, as their appearance even have changed since they now are at good health, safe and secure. During the year the social services have been working on finding them foster families and finally they are now all relocated in long term families. They are all in safe environments, far from anything related to extremisms or violence. They are living relatively close to each other so that they can meet each other. Their grandfather Patricio Galvéz are meeting them on a regular basis and is happy and thankful he now can be the grandfather he has been striving to be to his grandchildren.

Anne Speckhard (after the event) So here we have a success story, thus far, on repatriation of children.

This Zoom event was funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund – Police
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