UN human rights experts have expressed fears for the safety of Irish IS supporter Lisa Smith’s infant daughter raising the prospect that she could be abused in custody.
In a statement issued through the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, the experts called on Turkey to ensure the safety of Lisa Smith and her daughter who were transferred to Turkish custody after the bombing of a displacement camp in northeast Syria in recent weeks.
“The exact whereabouts of the mother and child are unknown. The experts express concern that Ms Smith may face ill-treatment in custody and strongly recommend she is given consular assistance and that she and her infant daughter are protected against any abuse while detained,” the experts said.
“There are grave concerns about the physical and mental health of Ms Smith and her daughter.
The vulnerability of this infant is particularly worrying and there is a compelling obligation to protect her wellbeing in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Turkey and Ireland are both parties.
The experts also said the basis for any detention should be clarified; that access to adequate legal counsel be provided; and that interrogations are carried out in conformity with Turkey’s treaty obligations.
“In addition to the obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights under Articles 3, 5 and 13, Ms Smith’s protection should follow at minimum the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).”
They also emphasised the need to recognise that women and children associated with IS may have been subjected to serious human rights violations and gender-based violence during and prior to their detention in camps such as Ain Issa.
“The experts underscore the need for a thorough individual evaluation of each woman and child in compliance with international human rights law, including attention to any gender-based violence and persecution against women who return from Syria and Iraq, both in third countries and upon return to countries of nationality.
"The experts acknowledge the prompt preliminary response of Ireland and Turkey to this communication indicating their willingness to abide by their international obligations.
"They stress the urgency of human rights compliant repatriation in all cases and the effective implementation of protection in the interim.”