Ms. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin,
UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; firstname.lastname@example.org
12 November 2019
Dear Ms. Ní Aoláin,
As an independent human rights organisation working in Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) welcomes the joint statement issued yesterday by your mandate and other key UN mandate holders concerning the ongoing human rights and humanitarian issues faced by conflict-affected women and children in Syria and Iraq.
We welcome in particular the calls issued by the mandate holders to all States to uphold human rights law in relation to conflict-affected women and children in the region: “We call on States to fully implement their legal obligations by accepting those citizens who wish to return to their country of citizenship, granting due process to those who should be prosecuted and reintegrating individuals as appropriate into society. We call on States to treat all survivors of violations, specifically boys and girls, humanely and fairly, so to affirm their dignity and rights. We offer our collective support and assistance to all Member States to work towards this end.”
In this context, ICCL wishes to express concern about the ongoing detention in the region of the conflict of Lisa Smith, an Irish national, by Turkish Authorities with an unclear legal basis. ICCL understands that Ms Smith is accused of supporting a terrorist group in Syria. ICCL would like to highlight that if Ms Smith has not yet been convicted of a criminal offence, she is entitled to be presumed innocent and she is entitled to all of the procedural rights of a fair trial.
We understand that she is travelling with her young daughter, also an Irish national. We are concerned at reports that the Turkish Authorities have not allowed Ms Smith or her daughter immediate and effective consular access to the Irish authorities. We believe Ms Smith should be given immediate access to Irish consular assistance and all steps should be taken by the Irish and Turkish authorities to ensure that she is safely repatriated to Ireland without delay. Once in Ireland, she should be entitled to legal assistance and to a fair trial if she is to be charged with any offence.
We kindly request your assistance in highlighting these concerns.
Executive Director, Irish Council for Civil Liberties