UN demands Britain repatriates 'vulnerable' Isis-bride Shamima Begum as she was 'recruited for sexual exploitation'

6 March 2024, 15:37

UN experts say Britain should repatriate Shamima Begum
UN experts say Britain should repatriate Shamima Begum. Picture: Getty

By StephenRigley

UN experts say Britain should take back Shamima Begum claiming there is credible evidence the "vulnerable" jihadi bride was recruited by Isis for "sexual exploitation."

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Begum, now 24 and living in a refugee camp in northern Syria, was stripped of her citizenship after leaving the country aged 15 to marry an Islamic State fighter.

Last month she lost an appeal against the decision, prompting UN special rapporteurs to urge Britain to provide her with protection - including repatriation - and review the decision to revoke her citizenship.

The experts said: "Begum remains stripped of her citizenship, vulnerable, and denied assistance and protection as a possible victim of trafficking."

In a statement, they argued: 'There is a credible suspicion that Ms Begum was recruited, transferred and then harboured for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is an international crime, a form of modern slavery."

Shamima Begum who is currently in a refugee camp in Syria
Shamima Begum who is currently in a refugee camp in Syria. Picture: Getty

Read More: Isis bride Shamima Begum banned from Britain after losing court battle to get citizenship returned

Read More: Shamima Begum is 'a risk', daughter of ISIS victim tells LBC after jihadi bride's failed citizenship appeal

They added:"Protections owed to victims of trafficking and those at risk of trafficking, especially children, must be respected to be meaningful."

The statement was issued by the special rapporteurs on people trafficking, on contemporary slavery, on human rights while countering terrorism, on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, and on violence against women.

Special rapporteurs are mandated by the UN Human Rights Council but are independent experts and do not speak for the United Nations.

Last month the Court of Appeal rejected all five arguments presented by Begum ruling that the risk to national security took precedence over whether she had been a potential victim of trafficking.

Shamima Begum's lawyers give a statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice as she loses her appeal against the removal of her British citizenship.
Shamima Begum's lawyers give a statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice as she loses her appeal against the removal of her British citizenship. Picture: Alamy

Begum could still take her case to the UK Supreme Court.

The 24-year-old, whose family is of Bangladeshi origin, left her east London home for Syria with two school friends in 2015.

While there, she married a fighter with the IS jihadist group and had three children, none of whom survived.

In 2019, Begum had argued she was left de facto stateless when Britain's then interior minister Sajid Javid revoked her citizenship on national security grounds.

She said at the time she regretted everything she did in Syria and begged for a second chance in the UK, claiming she was "brainwashed".

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