An Australian mother of five held in the deteriorating al-Hawl camp of northern Syria has been stripped of her citizenship – retroactive by three years – leaving two of her children potentially stateless and potentially permanently splitting her family.
Currently, there are 19 Australian women and 47 Australian children held in the al-Hawl camp. The Australian government is aware of their identities and the bona fides of their Australian citizenship or right to claim that citizenship.
They are family members of former foreign fighters who have been captured or killed. None of the Australian women in the camp were combatants, and many were coerced, forced or tricked into travelling to Syria.
The youngest child in the Australian group is less than two months old, born on 30 November last year.
Were the children and their mothers able to get to an Australian embassy or consulate, the Australian government would be legally obliged to provide them travel documents to return home.