Chicago Journal of International Law

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This Comment focuses on the thousands of foreign children who are indefinitely detained at al-Hol camp in Northern Syria due to their perceived affiliation with ISIS. Specifically, this Comment explores whether stateless children who lived under the ISIS regime and cannot repatriate are eligible for asylum under international law, including the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its accompanying 1967 Protocol. After examining the relevant international law protecting children and the stateless, this Comment finds that the detention of children at al-Hol camp violates the laws of war and international human rights law. Specifically, the squalid conditions of the camp do not advance the children’s best interest, which every country in the world except the U.S. has committed to uphold through the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Western countries’ refusal to repatriate prevents their citizens from exercising their right to nationality and their right to return to their home country. Thus, the children become de facto stateless when countries refuse to take them back. Taking into consideration the constant violations of international law present at al-Hol camp, this Comment argues that the foreign children at al-Hol camp meet the requirements for refugee status because they are being persecuted as a particular social group (defined as “children who lived in the ISIS regime and who do not have the ability to be repatriated to their home country”). They are persecuted by, first, their home countries, which refuse to repatriate them and, second, the Syrian government and Kurdish administration

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