On March 10, 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Organization released a report about Turkey’s military campaigns in the Kurdish region from July 2015 to December 2016 which has resulted in killings, destruction, displacement and other serious human rights violations.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein stated, “I am particularly concerned by reports that no credible investigation has been conducted into hundreds of alleged unlawful killings, including women and children, over a period of 13 months between late July 2015 and the end of August 2016. It appears that not a single suspect was apprehended and not a single individual was prosecuted.”
In the Executive Summary, the report said, “2,000 people were reportedly killed in the context of security operations in South-East Turkey,” approximately 1,200 of whom were local residents and almost 800 of whom were members of the security forces. According to the report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented numerous cases of “killings, enforced disappearances, torture, destruction of housing and cultural heritage.” The OHCHR accused the Turkish government of denying the organization to access the areas of the conflict and military campaign: “In May 2016, the High Commissioner for Human Rights requested the Government of Turkey to grant a team of OHCHR human rights officers full and unhindered access to the concerned area in order to substantiate facts and ascertain reported human rights concerns. OHCHR repeatedly followed up on this request but, as of February 2017, it had not received any formal reply from the Turkish authorities.”
The report says that half a million people, mainly Kurdish, are internally displaced with “very limited” assistance as the international humanitarian organizations have no access to them. “The number of reported displaced persons (IDPs) in South-East Turkey is estimated between 355,000 to half a million people, mainly citizens of Kurdish origin. The displaced population is reported to have moved to neighboring suburbs, towns and villages, or to other regions within Turkey”.
With regards to the jailing of lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the removal of democratically elected local Kurdish officials, the report said, “The removal from office of democratically-elected representatives of citizens of Kurdish origin appears to have had an unexpected negative consequence on women’s human rights in South-East Turkey”.
The Executive Summary of the report describes the violations in 100 points and expresses the concerns of the United Nations about the situation in Turkey: “The aim of this report is to bring serious human rights concerns in South-East Turkey to the attention of the competent authorities.”
According to the report, “unlawful deaths” and “excessive use of force (such as shelling densely populated areas with heavy artillery and tanks)” have occurred.
Click here to access the report.