Federal Court rejects legal effort to force reparation of women and children in Syrian detention camps

The Federal Court has upheld a previous judgment rejecting legal arguments that would bring Australian ISIS brides and their children home from a refugee camp in Syria.

On Tuesday morning, Justice Christopher Horan announced the court would dismiss an appeal on the case.

The court is of the view the appeal should be dismissed, I publish our reasons,” he said.

Over two days in early May, a panel of three judges heard the appeal brought by litigation guardian Save the Children Australia on behalf of 31 women and children at the Al-Roj camp in Northeast Syria.

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The 11 Australian women and 20 children have lost their case in the Federal Court. Save the Children Australia Credit: Supplied

Last November, Justice Mark Moshinsky rejected an initial application seeking the court issue a writ of habeas corpus — effectively requiring the Australian government to bring the group home.

The women, some of whom were children at the time, travelled to Syria to become brides of Islamic State fighters before the self-described caliphate collapsed in 2019.

Thirty-four women and children with Australian citizenship, or eligibility for citizenship, remain in the Al-Roj camp controlled by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).

news, australia, crime, tas news, vic news, world news, federal court rejects legal effort to force reparation of women and children in syrian detention camps

Australian women and their children remain in the North East Syrian refugee camp. Save the Children Australia Credit: Supplied

Save the Children Australia had argued the government has a “legal and moral obligation” to act, while the Australian government argued AANES held “complete and unfettered discretion” over the detainees and therefore it couldn’t be compelled to repatriate them.

Last year, Save the Children Australia chief executive Mat Tinkler said the families had waited more than four years to be repatriated, before turning to the legal system as a last resort.

The judgment on appeal, by Chief Justice Debra Mortimer, Justice Geoffrey Kennett and Justice Horan will be published online

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