A group of 15 legal experts from leading universities in Finland and abroad have joined the ongoing debate on the fate of Finnish “Daesh brides” and “Daesh children” by reminding that it is constitutionally prohibited to prevent Finnish citizens from entering the country.
Citing the Finnish constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, the pundits stressed in an opinion piece in the daily Helsingin Sanomat newspaper that no person may be deprived of the right to enter the territory of the state in which he is a national.
Therefore, they argued, the question is not whether the authorities should prevent re-entry, but whether they should assist in moving them from the crisis area to a safer location. In any case, they underscored, consular missions must not deny assistance as punishment for unlawful activity.
Another document they referenced is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which demands that states always act in accordance with the principle of the children's best interests.
“It is our understanding that all of the above means the government has an obligation to assist children and their guardians in returning to the country,” they concluded.
While the previous centre-right government led by Juha Sipilä rejected the idea of taking back Finnish nationals living in camps for Daesh relatives, the present left-of-the-centre government led by Anti Rinne remains undecided.
Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo of the Green Party said that the government has an obligation toward Finnish terrorists' children, but added that she understands that many people may oppose the idea of welcoming them home.
By contrast, Kurdish doctor Nemam Ghafouri, now living in Sweden, argued that “Daesh brides” are as dangerous as their men, calling to bring them to justice and take away their children.
Having visited the notorious Al-Hol camp in Syrian Kurdistan, which she called “a veritable hell”, she suggested it has effectively devolved into a Daesh stronghold, with Daesh sympathisers calling the shots there. According to her, the women there show no remorse and nurse hope that the “caliphate” will survive through their children.
“These women are a threat to their children's lives, our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. Leaving the children in their hands is a ticking bomb”, Ghafouri told Finnish national broadcaster Yle, suggesting that they don't even deserve to be called mothers.
According to Ghafouri, a trial in Syrian Kurdistan or Iraq would be the best option. Finland, as a nation that experienced wartime conditions itself, may pioneer this option, she ventured.
Previously, Magnus Ranstorp, a senior terrorism researcher at the Swedish National Defence College, has repeatedly warned of the dangers that Daesh brides and widows present.
Nevertheless, Finland's neighbours Sweden and Norway have already started to accept back their nationals from detention camps in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, dozens of Finnish women and children still remain in the Middle East.
* Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, IS or “Islamic State”) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries