EUTCC Chairperson urges UN institutions and ECHR to act for Afrin

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“The only reason President Erdogan gives for the attacks is that the people he is targeting are ethnic Kurds. As such, the armed attacks are flagrant violations of the European Convention on Human Rights”, said EUTCC Chairperson.

Kariane Westrheim, Chairperson of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) wrote letters addressed to Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, Security Council of the United Nations, The Precedency, General Assembly of the United Nations, President Miroslav Lajčák, The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about the Turkish state’s ongoing invasion attempt against Afrin Canton of Northern Syria.

The letters urge the three UN institutions as well as the ECHR to take action against President Erdogan’s recent and ongoing-armed attacks by Turkey in Kurdish areas in Northern Syria.

The letter by Kariane Westrheim is as follows;

“The recent and ongoing armed attacks from Turkey in Kurdish areas in northern Syria are likely to qualify as:

– Crimes against humanity;

– Grave Breaches of the Laws of War; and

– Aggression

Whether it is genocide -bearing in mind that the attacks are aimed at an ethnic group – remains an open question.

The armed attacks were commissioned by President Erdogan himself to spread his message far and wide. The only reason President Erdogan gives for the attacks is that the people he is targeting are ethnic Kurds. As such, the armed attacks are flagrant violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention also require States to take active steps to ensure the protection of fundamental human rights to life and freedom from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and a member of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The court is therefore encouraged to take immediate action in the form of provisional measures – whatever it considers appropriate under the circumstances – to stop the crimes committed by Turkey on behalf of President Erdogan himself.

Whilst the court has no direct provisions regarding the above-mentioned international crimes, the court was established precisely to prevent the causes of war being resolved by some of the Member States.

Europe’s people trust the authority, the god office and the Court’s work. They can in no way afford to perceive the Court to be a passive spectator of present cruelty. The court must be able to act when now, as there is, the life and well-being of large groups of people are at risk because of Turkey’s intentional actions, a Member State in the ECHR. This is no less because the circumstances are exceptional.”

Members of EUTCC delegations to Turkey and Strasbourg 2016-2018 who support the letter:

– Julie WARD, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament

– Thomas Jeffry Miley, Cambridge University

– Costas MAVRIDES, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament

– Jonathan Steele, Veteran Foreign Correspondent and Author

– Ulla Sandbaek, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Member, Group of the Unified European Left

– Ögmundur Jonasson, Former Minister and former leader of the Federation of Public Service Employees in Iceland and Board member on the board of international trade union organizations

– Francis Wurtz, who was a French Member of the European Parliament

– Joe Ryan, chair of the Westminister Justice and Peace Commission

– Dr. Federico Venturini, School of Geography, University of Leeds; advisory board member of Transnational Institute for Social Ecology

– Dimitri Roussopoulos, co-founder of Transnational Institute for Social Ecology,

– Nathan Peter McDonnel, Assistant for Mr. Dimitrios

– Miren Edurne Gorrotxategi, Member of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and member of Spain Senat

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