Kurdish Civil Society Call for Urgent Action on Kobane
July 21, 2014
To: His Excellency Ban Ki –Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
CC: Presidents of the permanent member states of the Security Council of the United Nations
- President of the People’s Republic of China, President Xi Jinping
- President of the Republic of France, President François Hollande
- President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama
- President of Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin
- Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Prime Minister David Cameron
For years, the international powers turned a blind eye to the regime in Syria. With the start of the recent conflicts in most parts of Syria, international attention has sharply focused on this previously neglected country. However, now it is the Kurds who remain unnoticed. At the outset of the violence, most of the country was ravaged by armed conflict; however, the predominantly Kurdish North remained relatively calm. The Kurdish people were not in favour of an armed struggle in Syria and especially not in favour of foreign intervention. What they wanted was a democratic Syria where they could express themselves as Kurds. To this end, on 19th July 2012 the Kurds of Syria carried out a peaceful revolution, in which not even a single bullet was fired. Kurds took over administrative buildings and declared their own democratic administration. This was an expression of the will of the people, as no outside force supported this effort. The Kurds of Syria are now administering themselves through what they are calling ‘Democratic Autonomy’.
Briefly, the Kurds together with all ethnic and religious communities in the area exercised their natural right to self-determination in the self-ruling model of the Cantons in the framework of a Democratic Autonomy. Democratic autonomy means a democratic homeland, made up of multi-lingual, multinational and multi-religious citizens, rather than a single ethnicity with one language and one religion. In Rojava Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians (Assyrian Chaldeans, Arameans), Turkmen, Armenians, and Chechens, who religiously follow Islam, Christianity and Ezidi are sharing a common homeland.
The Kurdish solution in Rojava made clear the position of foreign forces involved in the conflict. Since the declaration of the self-rule, ISIS and different jihadist groups have carried out a new wave of attacks.
Offensive attacks of ISIS after the fall of Mosul
After taking over Mosul, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) has launched a major offensive against Kobane on Wednesday, July 2. Seizing heavy weaponry, ISIS quickly turned its attention to Rojava. It has also been reported that ISIS is freely able to manoeuvre through the Turkish border in order to have better access to YPG (People’s Defence Units) controlled areas.
ISIS has openly proclaimed that they are intending to transform the demography of the region. With their ruthless methods they have thrown the whole region into an uncertain and dangerous future.
The Kobanê (Eyn Al-Arab) Canton as the smallest of the three Cantons that make up Rojava with Afrin, and Cezire (Jaziraa) has been under siege by jihadists of all kinds for the past five months. The siege has cut most travel routes and supply lines from and to nearby Kurdish cities and towns. Jihadists of all kinds, led by ISIS, began attacking Kobanê in March but the most brutal and consecutive onslaughts began earlier this month on 2 July.
Kobane is a symbol of Kurdish resistance as it is the place where the Rojava initiative began when on 19 July 2012, the people succeeded in forcing out Assad’s army.
The threat of a new massacre against the people of Rojava is becoming a real possibility and the danger is increasing by the day. However, the use of chemical weapons by ISIS against YPG fighters emerged only few days ago, when sources on the ground as well as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that YPG fighters were killed in clashes with ISIS but the bodies had no signs of bullet and shrapnel wounds.
Kobanê Canton Health Minister Dr. Na’san Ahmed said that seven local doctors carried out post-mortem examinations on the bodies of two Kurdish YPG fighters recently killed by ISIS and that they found traces indicating that they were killed by chemical weapons.
It is clear that the UN and particularly the permanent member states of the UN Security Council must now do more to address this inhuman threat. The delay of urgent international action will cost more civilian lives.
We as Kurdish activists need to condemn these unjust, unhuman and brutal actions against our people in Kobane. Justice and the implementation of humanitarian law must be secured for our people. Their human rights, dignity and the right for self-determination must be respected. It is the priority of the UN to defend the principles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
The use of chemical weapons is a new threat to our people, which has to be prevented by the UN, particularly the Security Council, especially when the use of chemical weapons is not an isolated incident in Syria’s civil war and Middle East generally.
We therefore call for an urgent action on Kobane by sending an international investigation team.
Your Excellencies, we thank you for your attention to these concerns. We remain available to provide further information as may be useful.
Civil Society Organisations in the Kurdistan Region/Iraq
- Chawi Amro, Organisation for Monitoring of Journalism and Freedom of Expression
- Homa Organization for Children Talent development (NOCTD)
- High Council of Civil Society Organisation in Kurdistan (includes 150 member Organizations)
- Kurdistan student & youth yenaissance
- Ranya Youth Centre
- Rayal Centre for Culture Exchange
- The Returned European Asylum Group
- The Organization for Girls and Women Rights
- Galwezh Centre for Literature and Culture
- Federal Organization for Political Issues
- Youth Thoughts Development Organization
- Village and Villagers Development Organization
- Hataw Cultural Centre
- Paitakhit Organization for Human Development
- Sivil Organization for Social Issues
- Runaki Organization
- Diyari Organization
- Geyandn Organization
- Baha Organization
- Developing Democracy Organization
- Asuda Center
- Sample Organization
- Diliviya Organization
- Zagros Organization
- Solidarity Organization
- Legal Consultancy Organization
- Cultural Youth Institution
- Youth Group for Drama
- Human Organization for Defending Human
- POA People Organization Aid
- Biro Organization
- Razhan Organization
- Modern Youth Organization
- Network of Peace Generations
- Kurdish-American Cultural Institute
- Civil Horizon Organization
- Justice Organization
- Awareness Legal Organization
- The People’s Participation Front
- The Network of towards a youth parliament
- Constitution Organization
- Third Eye Organization
- Rwan Organization
- Pollen Organization
- Idea Organization
- Youth Disabled Organization
- Legal Monitoring Organization
- Balance Organization
- Developing Youth Awareness Organization
- Sarezh Organization for Health
- Baran (raining) Organization
- Idea of Youth Organization
- Idea Educational Organization
- Invention Organization
- Idea Organization
- Wafa organization for developing youth abilities
- Health Policy Research Organization (HPRO)
- Kurdish Institute for Elections
- Aran Organization
- Civil Society Initiative
- Women Legal Assistance Organization
- Youth activities Development Center
- Sharazur Environment Organization
- Kurdistan Environment Organization
- Youth Activities Organization
For further information or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Firyad Hirany.
Director of Chawi Amro
Phone: 00964 750 442 6969