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Advocating for Adoptions in Al Hol: How Intercountry Adoptions Could Ensure the Safety of a Generation of Lost Children

By: Jill Boggs

After the Islamic State (IS) collapsed in 2019, tens of thousands of IS fighters, IS affiliates, and their wives and children were captured and kept in detention centers throughout northeastern Syria. Today, these camps remain full of young children, growing up in unsanitary

living conditions, vulnerable to recruitment from IS supporters, and lacking the ability to leave the camps, obtain a formal education, and otherwise enjoy a safe, stable childhood. While operating in less dire circumstances, orphanages throughout northeastern Syria and Iraq are also housing the children of IS fighters. These children face similar issues, including social stigmas and isolation, limited resources, and an uncertain future. So far, efforts to conduct large-scale repatriations, rehabilitations, or prosecutions of the detainees have failed. This Note advocates for private adoptions as a limited solution to this problem. Expedited intercountry adoptions would move children out of these detention camps and orphanages, limiting the burden on regional authorities and allowing the children to have a chance to grow up in a stable environment enjoying the rights and privileges they are entitled to under international law.


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