Human Rights

Thousands of children left behind by ISIS terrorists

Iraq

According to some officials, the children of ISIS are considered "ticking time-bombs" as they have been left stranded without families or anything to identify with, leaving them at risk.

The fate of thousands of children born to ISIS parents continues to remain unresolved. According to the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, the Iraqi authorities have refused to give documents to over 45,000 children who were born in the country to parents affiliated with ISIS. According to Egeland, these children are considered a ticking time-bomb because if not taken care of properly, they will potentially resort to crime and extremism. Egeland stressed that the marginalisation of these children for crimes that they did not commit would prevent them from accessing education and health care thus giving them no identity.

However, a source from the Iraqi Judiciary responded to these claims saying that the number of ISIS militants’ children is much less than the number given by Egeland. The source also said that the majority of children born to ISIS militants remain in al-Hol Refugee Camp in Syria and have not entered the Iraqi territories.

While both claims cannot be confirmed at this point, the problem that these children create is one that must be addressed soon, as its repercussions could be significant to the fate of the region.

Since the defeat of ISIS in Iraq in December 2017, thousands of children fathered by ISIS parents have been placed in special IDP camps throughout the country and monitored closely.

Both Iraqi and International experts say that these children must be rehabilitated and reintroduced into society so that they are not marginalised and put at risk of radicalisation, the Iraqi authorities say they do not possess the tools to rehabilitate all these children at this point. Furthermore, the authorities also say that they need to conduct the proper investigation so that they can separate children who were directly involved with ISIS’ activities, including the group’s Cubs of the Caliphate, from those who were merely children of ISIS militants.

Iraqi authorities also say that the registration of these children as Iraqis prevents them from knowing their true identities, as many of them were born to foreign parents.

With thousands of children currently undocumented and lacking knowledge of their identity, the region is under threat of producing a generation of children that can easily be taken advantage of by militants trying to spread discord and hate.