From rehabilitation to repatriation, the future remains complex for hundreds of children who lived under ISIS rule in Libya.
Despite the defeat of ISIS militarily in Iraq, Libya, and soon Syria, many problems remain due to the militant group’s rule. In addition to the question of reconstructing destroyed cities, the issue of rehabilitating ISIS’ victims and children continues to haunt many countries worldwide.
In Libya, the Libyan Red Crescent recently confirmed that six children under its care, whose parents were in ISIS, were of Tunisian descent. A Tunisian delegation, which arrived at the organisation’s office in the city of Misrata, also confirmed their identities and said that they would arrange to transfer them back to Tunisia.
However, thousands of others are left in a state of limbo.
With no birth certificates or documents to prove their identities, many children who lived under ISIS throughout Iraq, Syria and Libya are unsure of their fate since they cannot receive citizenship anywhere. This has raised concerns among many international organisations that cannot continue to provide them with adequate care forcing many children into a state of homelessness or into displacement camps where they do not receive any material or psychological support.
While many countries fear that as these children will become a threat to the societies that they reside in, the government of Trinidad and Tobago recently made an important decision to return two young children who were kidnapped by their father and taken to Syria. The children have now been brought back to their mother in the Caribbean country.
Despite this positive case, other countries are more reluctant.
While many people agree that children of ISIS must be rehabilitated and integrated into society, many countries fear bringing back these children within their border due to the public outcry that might occur.
In the case of children currently in Libya, citizens have expressed their wishes for these children to be rehabilitated and integrated back into society, to prevent militant organisations from further exploiting them to carry out their agendas.
Furthermore, according to experts, children left behind by ISIS cannot be categorised as a single entity. This is because there are many children who were forced to join the militant group after being kidnapped from their families, while others were born into ISIS families themselves. Furthermore, there are some children who were too young to be brainwashed by ISIS. As a result, they say that governments and organisations should treat them differently to those who were brainwashed.
In northern Syria, children who have been fed the militant group’s hateful ideology and took part in the militant group’s “Cubs of the Caliphate,” are being provided with psychological treatment and are being given an education in an attempt to deradicalise them and eventually integrate them back into society.
While there is no definite plan on what to do in regards to these children, international organisations and governments must act quickly to find an adequate solution, which will help these children integrate back into society and not be exploited once again.