Syrian camp has become the center of attention after an orphaned five-year-old Canadian girl, Amira, was found held there.
The campsite has reportedly been an unsafe orphanage for over two dozen Canadian children. Eight young children lost their lives within five days, and the situation is likely to worsen due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The family lawyer confirmed the girl is in the care of a consular official and is on her way to Canada to be with her uncle.
Amira was found on the side of a road last year after her mother, father, and three siblings lost their lives in the previous battle to destroy ISIS. Since then, her uncle has campaigned to have Amira repatriated. He had filed to Federal Court to put further pressure on the government, arguing that the feds had failed to provide Amira emergency travel documents and complete the proper protocols with the Syrian government to repatriate the girl.
Amira’s incident has raised the question of the safety of the Canadians stranded in Syria. Advocates have criticized the government for its continued inaction regarding over two dozen other Canadian children in Syria living in unsafe conditions. Save the Children CEO Bill Chambers said the charity had cared for Amira at the camp in northeast Syria, where recently eight young children died in just five days and where there are fears of a COVID-19 outbreak. They asked the government to take steps to repatriate the remaining children trapped in Syria and their families.
According to Farida Deif, the Canada director of Human Rights Watch, some 46 Canadians are still in dangerous conditions, but the government can help them. Deif said that all that was needed was the political will. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that Amira’s situation was unique. He said he had to recognize that a particular problem was an exceptional case of an orphan who no longer had any close family, and that was why she was brought to Canada. He added that was a situation where they’re trying to say as little as possible about it, to respect her and her family’s privacy as they adjust to being back in Canada.