İHD reports over 15,000 rights violations in Turkey’s Kurdish populated provinces in first 9 months of 2017

Turkey’s Human Rights Association’s (İHD) Diyarbakır Branch has reported 15,647 human rights violations in the country’s Kurdish populated east and southeastern provinces during the first 9 months of  2017.

According to a report by pro-Kurdish news outlets, İHD’s Diyarbakır Branch chairperson Raci Bilici and İHD staff held a press conference on Wednesday at the association’s Conference Hall in the city. Bilici has stated that what is happening in the related provinces in general is because of the insistence on methods of ‘solution’ that don’t include dialogue, and added that as a result, the horrific and painful conflict that has affected life deeply in the region has emerged.

Bilici, who has reminded the similar things happened during the 1990’s as well, and they didn’t bring results, has added that “Policies based on conflict and violence leave in their wake loss of life and open wounds that can’t be compensated in society. This process where people lose their lives almost everyday has depleted hopes for peace and solution.”

Bilici stressed that: “We don’t want conflict and war in our region and our country. We do not want to witness death, torture and unjust imprisonment. We want a life where our children can grow up in safety and march into the future in confidence. On this basis, we demand an end to the state of emergency that creates human rights violations. We are hoping for a swift end to the conflict and a renegotiation of a permanent state of no-conflict and the solution process. We stress that the right to life is sacred under any circumstances, with no differences in regard to language, religion, race, nationality, sexuality or ethnic and cultural diversity, and we wish for a dignified life filled with freedom.”

According to data compiled by İHD Diyarbakır Branch during the first 9 months in Kurdish populated regions of Turkey, at least 7 people lost their lives and 11 people were wounded as a result of police, gendarmerie and village guard attacks; 2 people died in prisons; 6 people died and 8 people were wounded in unidentified attacks; 14 people lost their lives and 161 people were wounded as a result of official wrongdoing and negligence; 6 children and 2 adults lost their lives and 25 people were wounded as a result of landmines and unaccompanied explosives detonating along border lines; 1 village was burned down, 12 forest fires broke out, 31 areas were declared special security zones and curfews were declared in 63 areas in conflict regions;  Bodies of 19 people who lost their lives in clashes were not given to their families. 29 deceased persons’ memories were disrespected.

Moreover, 9 women committed suicide as a result of rights violations targeting women; 30 women who were subjected to domestic violence were murdered while 24 women were wounded in domestic violence cases; 4 women lost their lives in public acts of violence, 6 women lost their lives in sexual assaults and 5 women were forced into prostitution.

According to data released by İHD, 6 children committed suicide as a result of rights violations targeting minors and 5 children lost their lives in acts of domestic violence; 3 children lost their lives in public acts of violence while 90 children were subjected to sexual harassment.

“Despite the ban on torture, 25 people were subjected to torture in custody, 1 person by village guards, 133 people outside of detention centers and 320 people were subjected to torture in prisons. 60 people were battered in demonstrations and protest marches,” reported İHD and added that “The police and army conducted 2,421 house raids and detained 3,278 people, 19 of whom were children. 713 people including 2 children were arrested.”

During this period 6 events were banned, 8 publications were banned and called back, 1 media institution was raided, 7 media institutions were shut down and 7 websites were banned, according to İHD report. It has also reported that the investigations were launched against 35 people, lawsuits were filed against 50 people and 229 people received sentences in violations of freedoms of thought and expression.

“11 political party and 15 municipal buildings and events were raided. 35 NGOs, 1 foundation and 4 educational and cultural institutions were shut down,” said İHD report and added that “A total of 905 rights violations were recorded in prisons, including on transfers, right to medical attention, family visits, isolation, discipline punishments, right to communication, right to social activity and freedom of language.”

The report continued to list human rights violations as follow: “17 people lost their lives and 16 people were wounded in work accidents. 912 people have been fired, 220 people were removed from duty, 4,028 people were expelled and about 83 people had administrative investigations launched with the government decrees under the state of emergency.”

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) jailed chieftain Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015. Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

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