The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad Al-Hussein,
To the High Commissioner for Human Rights
We present to you this message and we are all confident and hopeful to consider its content with great care and sense of responsibility, especially as we see in the Commission the destination of the wretched and the oppressed in the ground for the role of prominent and honorable in many issues of nations and peoples in general And humanitarian issues in particular, we have great faith in the goodwill you have for this world, and we highly appreciate your role and your efforts.
We bring you a message that expresses the situation of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who live in a spot of Syrian soil, which is Afrin in its city, towns, and villages.
This scene that lives in the sight of the whole world is a tragedy beyond description and a disaster that we consider a disgrace on the forehead of all those who contributed and brought Syria to this state of chaos, fighting and destruction intentionally or failure to fulfill its responsibilities.
It is enough for us to remind you of the axioms of facts and things on the ground in Afrin to give you a comprehensive picture summarizing the ugliness and gravity of the situation on that geographical patch.
As early as 18/3/2018, the day when the Turkish army and armed Syrian factions invaded the city of Afrin and declared full control over it as a goal of its campaign. Which was launched under what was called “Olive Branch.”
Thus, there is an occupation by a state, Turkey, for part of a land belonging to the sovereignty of another country, Syria, as a reality that is not even denied by Turkey itself.
In support of that axiom, there are a number of axioms of responsibilities and obligations that Turkey has as an occupying power. The source of these obligations is laws, conventions, charters, universal declarations and customs that are noble and sacred, and has adopted, and undertaken to abide by and respect.
The question now is: Is Turkey one of those countries that meets those obligations and international laws?
Answer: Absolutely not.
Turkey, and from the first moment of its entry into Afrin, entered it with all the meaning of this word in barbarism, barbarism and the spirit of vengeance and genocide. We all know that every claim or statement that these practices are mostly committed by the armed Syrian factions, By the Turkish army is a statement that calls for ridicule and evidence of ignorance of the laws.
The duty of security and protection in an occupied territory is the responsibility of the occupying power in international law and has no excuse to evade this responsibility in any way, as clearly stated in The Hague Regulations of 1907 (articles 42-56) Fourth Geneva Convention (articles 27-34) and 47-78, as well as some provisions of Additional Protocol I and customary international humanitarian law.
The obligation of the Occupying Power to protect the inhabitants and ensure their security is not nullified by anything, even the agreements between the occupying power and the local authorities (Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention), and even more so where protected persons themselves do not have the right to waive such protection (Article 8 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949)
Turkey has practiced since the first day of occupation, either directly or through Syrian armed factions loyal mercenaries and affiliated to it or affiliated to the other, which is called the Syrian opposition coalition, has practiced a large number of crimes and violations in various forms and severity to the most cruel and brutal, Robbery, looting, torture, physical assaults, forced disappearances, forcible displacement of populations, systematic demographic change and other crimes, most of which fall under what international humanitarian law considers war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. (We attach to this book a file that contains a simple part of those crimes and violations. And we bear full responsibility for the validity of the information contained therein, with the need to indicate that the seriousness and intimidation prevent the documentation of many violations and crimes)
If there is a state of occupation that does not deal with the absolute occupied part and its inhabitants by the logic of the law, but launched the hands of the armed elements to do what they want, those elements who carry ideas and diseases and doctrines of extremism and extremism of all kinds, religiously and doctrinal and sectarian, They see in the Kurdish component of the vast majority of the Afrin population, and in the Yazidi religion that our brethren believe in Afrin, that they consider them infidels, separatist atheists, traitors and their blood extinct.
These ideas are nurtured by Turkey and are working to revive them for many reasons and purposes. Perhaps the most important of these is their desire to create a social rift, entrenchment and deep hatred among the components of Syrian society that will perpetuate tension and permanent instability. Kurds as a nationality pose a serious threat in accordance with its ideology and its extreme nationalist ideology.
There is a huge number of arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and enforced disappearances by Turkey and the factions against civilians in Afrin where they are taken to unknown destinations and the families of the abductees are prevented from knowing any information about the place of their detention or the reasons for their detention or their fate. Of torture and physical liquidation within those detention centers.
As we know, the reality is that international law is a crime against humanity, as stated in the explicit provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 47/133 of 18 12/1992, as confirmed by article VII of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 17 July 1998. In addition, the relevant articles dealt with the treatment of prisoners of war in the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
In addition to the crimes of enforced disappearance, we also find a variety of crimes and systematic violations, the most serious and the most dangerous are the operations and crimes of forced displacement of the residents of Afrin and practices that change the demographic structure of Afrin and demilitarization and Kurdish specificity, where it is pursued by various methods and crimes Both through the establishment of barriers and the closure of ports on the outskirts of the administrative area of Afrin or inside Afrin itself in order to prevent the return of the population and displaced persons as a result of hostilities to their homes and villages, and also by that the factions expelled the residents of their homes and the evacuation of villages and towns force of threat and For the weapon and the replacement of new arrivals from different regions of Syria of the Arab component to settle in the homes and property of the people of Afrin, and the methods of the occupation authority and the factions and deliberately create an atmosphere of insecurity and tension and instability and loss of livelihood and everything that would This is the hands of Turkey these days, affecting the environment, plants and animals. The trees, the grasses and everything living are made to make Afrin a land that is not livable and its inhabitants hate to leave.
Of course, as far as we are concerned, it is certainly under international humanitarian law under crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes, as set forth in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1989 (article 7/1 / D and articles 6, 8 ), And also in accordance with the prohibition on such acts and as crimes in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
The most dangerous thing is Turkey's systematic aim towards the total or partial destruction of a nationalist group, the Kurdish component, as we have said, and therefore there are large-scale genocide.
We will not prolong the narrative of the facts very much, and what is our goal through that very brief, but put you in the form of the seriousness of the situation and the tragedy experienced by the people of Afrin, which we do not originally see hidden under the globalization and the media and communication and technology, and with We see, unfortunately, silence and failure and failure is inexplicable and is very strange and suspicious of all media, states and institutions.
Therefore, through all of the above we have come through your Excellency to ask the Commission to recognize the critical situation in Afrin and to immediately advance its moral obligations and responsibilities before those dictated by the professional duty and the goals for which the Commission was created.
There is no doubt that the Commission is well aware of its functions and what it should do in such situations. What we armost interested in doing is basically
Immediately to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate and verify abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, its source and perpetrators, whether by the Turkish state of occupation, its armed factions or the administration. And any party, group or individual that caused the people of Afrin to suffer, to prove that fact, collect information and identify those suspected of criminal responsibility for serious violations in order to bring them to fair trials. And to allow the media and the media to be present in Afrin to convey and describe what is happening there to the world.
To invite Turkey as a member state of the international institution to respect its charter and abide by it by immediately ending its violations and crimes, and its factions and the withdrawal from Afrin immediately.
Call on Turkey to immediately release all disappeared persons, abductees and the Syrian factions, and stop enforced disappearances, physical attacks, torture and all forms of violence against civilians.
Turkey's demand to abide by the treatment of prisoners and detainees who have participated in hostilities against them under the laws of international war and international humanitarian law, especially the articles of the Geneva Conventions in question.
Turkey's demand to ensure the safe and safe return of all displaced civilians to their homes and properties and to stop the practices of extortion and intimidation in all its forms and to ensure protection and decent living conditions and services for the population.
Immediately end the resettlement of Arab families in Afrin and immediately evacuate the settlers and secure them elsewhere until they can return to their areas of origin.
With a great appreciation and respect.
- Human Rights Organization in Syria (MAf)
- Action Committee for Afrin
- Licoline Center for Legal Studies and Research
- Kurdish Association for the Defense of Human Rights - Austria
- Syrian Human Rights Commission (MAF)
- Labor Authority for Afrin
- Lekolin Center for Legal Studies and Research - Germany