UN welcomes return of 120 displaced from Syria's al-Hol camp
UNITED NATIONS, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Wednesday welcomed the return of about 120 displaced persons from the al-Hol camp in northeast Syria back to northern Aleppo governorate and renewed its appeal for humanitarian access and the return of more camp residents.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, citing "our UN humanitarian colleagues," said that on Tuesday some 120 people left the camp en route to their place of origin in Aleppo governorate.
"The UN welcomes their return and reiterates that all returns must remain voluntary, informed and in line with minimum protection standards and international humanitarian law," Haq said.
Al-Hol is a camp that mushroomed earlier this year to more than 74,000 refugees and displaced persons, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"As of today, the camp's population is around 70,000, including some 10,000 third-country nationals, with an overwhelming majority of them children," Haq said.
Humanitarian workers say most of the third-country nationals are refugees from neighboring Iraq.
The UN continues to call on states of origin of third-country nationals in al-Hol to fulfill their responsibility to their citizens and find solutions for them in line with human rights standards, the spokesman told reporters at a regular briefing.
The UN calls for unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need based on the principle of humanity, including safe and continuous access and delivery of assistance to all areas of camps, regardless of their profile, including foreigners in highly securitized areas, he said.
Haq also said that family members of alleged ISIS fighters also have to be treated humanely in accordance with international law and ensured due process, procedural safeguards and judicial guarantees.