Abuses in Syria Kurdish areas denounced by HRW

Abuses in Syria Kurdish areas denounced by HRW

Thursday, June 19, 2014 1:16 pm

BEIRUT (AFP) – A global rights group denounced Thursday abuses committed in predominantly Kurdish areas of Syria, accusing the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) of arbitrary arrests and failing to address unsolved killings.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the PYD has also recruited children into the police force and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Detainees have been “beaten in custody” of Kurdish authorities running three enclaves in Syria ever since Damascus withdrew its forces in 2012, HRW said.

Nadim Houry Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa Division

Nadim Houry
Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa Division

The PYD, an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey, has also arrested political opponents, with some of them “convicted in apparently unfair trials.”

“At least nine political opponents of the PYD have been killed or disappeared over the past two and half years in areas the party partially or fully controlled. The PYD has denied responsibility for these incidents but has apparently failed to conduct genuine investigations.”

In 2013, the Kurdish police and military wings of the PYD promised to stop recruiting children, but “the problem persists in both forces”, said HRW in a statement accompanying a new report on the human rights situation in the Kurdish areas.

The YPG has since pledged to “demobilise all fighters under age 18 within one month,” the statement adds.

HRW “recommends steps that include forming an independent commission to review the cases of alleged political prisoners, and releasing anyone found to have been detained arbitrarily,” it said.

HRW’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa Nadim Houry added: “The Kurdish leadership in northern Syria can do much more to protect the human rights of everyone in the areas it controls – Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and others.”

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