NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan, May 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Nations has welcomed Kazakhstan's pro-active approach in repatriating its citizens from the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq, the Institute for Eurasian Integration has found. In the past month alone, Kazakhstan has taken back 231 people, including 156 children, in sharp contrast to the reluctance of most Western countries to take responsibility for their citizens who traveled to Syria.
An independent UN human rights expert welcomed Kazakhstan's efforts last week, saying it "safeguards the rights of vulnerable children and their mothers". Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, called on other countries to follow Kazakhstan's lead.
On May 10, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the repatriated Kazakhs had received assistance from the government and non-governmental organisations, including medical, psychological, and social assistance. This initiative follows an earlier operation in January where 47 Kazakh women and children were brought back by security forces after being held hostage by militant groups.
"We can already talk about the positive effect of this work. The women who returned in January of this year abandoned the radical past, got a job, and re-established ties with relatives. The children went to schools," President Tokayev said.
Highlighting the important role of Kazakhstan, Ms. Ní Aoláin said the Central Asian country "has illustrated that it is practical and realistic to bring out women and children, and that the remaining responsibility to do so lies with multiple states".
There have been calls for Western countries to take back their own citizens and to help de-radicalise them within their societies, instead of leaving the overstretched Syrian and Kurdish authorities to handle the problem.
The UN rights expert pointed out that Kazakhstan has shown "much needed leadership on the critical global issue". The country has set up rehabilitation centres to help the repatriated women and children get back to a normal life. Lawyers have also been engaged to assist the families recover vital documents and to help them get jobs.
SOURCE Institute for Eurasian Integration