UN Report Documents Wide-Scale Human Rights Abuses in Southeast Turkey

About 2,000 People Killed, Up to Half a Million Displaced 

GENEVA, Switzerland (A.W.)— About 2,000 people, including civilians, were killed in a largely Kurdish populated region of southeast Turkey during government security operations from July 2015 to Dec. 2016, according to a recent report published by the United Nations (UN).

 About 2,000 people, including civilians, were killed in a largely Kurdish populated region of southeast Turkey during government security operations from July 2015 to Dec. 2016, according to a recent report published by the UN. (Photo: ohchr.org)

On March 10, the UN Human Rights Office published a report detailing allegations of massive destruction, killings and numerous other serious human rights violations committed in southeast Turkey during the course of these 13 months.

The report stated that the security operations affected more than 30 towns and neighborhoods and up to 500,000 people, mostly Kurdish, were displaced.

“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 of 2016,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a news release published by his Office.

“It appears that not a single suspect was apprehended and not a single individual was prosecuted,” he added.

Zeid also stated that the deterioration of the human rights situation in the country will only contribute to an increase in tensions and will foster instability.

Almost 800 of those killed were members of security forces while some of the other 1,200 may have been involved in action against the state, said the report.

The published reported also included that among the documented killings, up to 189 people were trapped for weeks in basements in the town of Cizre in early 2016, without food, water, medical attention or power. They were eventually killed by gunfire.

Zeid’s spokesman Rupert Colville said that the death toll figures came from the Turkish government who is specifically targeting members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). “If the PKK have committed crimes and violations, then they need to be analyzed and exposed,” said Colville.

Colville explained that due to the lack of investigation, no one knows who committed a crime to whom and the exact details.

The report added that measures taken during the coup of July 2016 could have also affected the human rights situation in southeast Turkey, since more than 100,000 people were dismissed from public or private sector jobs during the reporting period.

10,000 teachers were also reportedly dismissed on suspicion of having ties with the PKK.

The full report can be accessed here: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/TR/OHCHR_South-East_TurkeyReport_10March2017.pdf 

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