Syria – European Court of Human Rights (14 september 2022)


Do you have any comment on the decision handed down by the European Court of Human Rights concerning requests by nationals held in Syrian camps to return home?

The government takes note of the decision by the European Court of Human Rights. As the French government maintained, the Court considers that France cannot be held responsible for the living conditions in those camps in northeastern Syria because they are outside of our jurisdiction. The court also found that France’s international commitments to protect human rights do not obligate us to repatriate individuals held in northeastern Syria but only to review these requests once again.

France did not wait for the Court’s decision to take action. The government has carried out several operations, the latest dating back to July, enabling 72 particularly vulnerable children and 16 mothers to come back home, insofar as their return represented the repatriation of minors in distress. These operations were conducted with French assets, both civilian and military. They were very complex, risky missions in a war zone over which France has no control, as the Court emphasized.

We will consider repeating this type of repatriation operation whenever conditions make it feasible, on the basis of developments in the situation on the ground and the security conditions surrounding the detention of French nationals in camps in northeastern Syria.