Individuals and families who left Canada to join groups like Daesh in Iraq and Syria may at some point return home. If they do return, these Canadians will be referred to as “returnees”. A majority of these individuals are young children; many of them are under the age of five. While the Canadian government has not identified how many individuals may return, journalists and international organizations suggest there are between 40 and 50 Canadians in prisons and camps in Northeastern Syria. Initially set up as refugee camps to house individuals fleeing Daesh, the camps were partially repurposed to house individuals who may have been associated with the group.
The goal of this document is to provide advice on how to interact with returnees and deal with the attention they will receive. These guidelines provide recommendations to help address this complex and challenging issue with practical advice for engaging with the returnees themselves, as well as media and law enforcement.
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