We welcome this action by ELDH European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, in response to a call from the Diyarbakir Bar Association regarding the urgent situation in Cizre, where a curfew has been in place since 4th September.
Italian-based lawyer Ms Barbara Spinelli, will go to Turkey support the democratic forces in Turkey by attending a peaceful march to Cizre. She will monitor the situation there in order to produce a report addressed to European institutions and civil society, as well as to the organs of United Nations, especially those competent for protection of women’s rights. She will arrive tonight. She has been working for months on the situation of women in Rojava where she led a fact finding mission in March this year. Her report has been presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Here are the statements:
Düsseldorf, 11 September 2015
Protection for the Italian Lawyer Barbara Spinelli visiting Turkey today
Dear Sir, dear Madam
Our Organisation, the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH) http://www.eldh.eu , shares the great concern of all democrats about the violent attacks on civilians and on the democratic and peaceful Kurdish political Party HDP in Turkey and the failure of the Turkish Government to stop the fascists attacks. On the contrary it seems that the Turkish Government has not only cancelled the peace process and the negotiations with PKK by supporting at least for a long time the armed fight of ISIS against Kurdish civilians in Syria and Iraq but it seems to be unwilling to find a peaceful solution for the outbreak of violence in Turkey.
In this situation our colleague Barbara Spinelli, a lawyer from Bologna, has decided to go to Turkey to support the democratic forces in Turkey by attending a peaceful march to Cisre and by monitoring the situation there in order to redact a report addressed to European institutions and civil society, as well as to the organs of United Nations, especially those competent for protection of women’s rights. She will arrive tonight. She has been working for months on the situation of women in (Rojava) where she has been leading a fact finding mission in March this year. Her report has been presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva afterwards. She is a member of the Italian Association of Democratic Lawyers (a member association of ELDDH) and member of the Executive Committee of ELDH. For many years ELDH has been following the political development in Turkey and has been observing politically motivated trials in Turkey, in particular the mass trial against lawyers.
The curfew declared in Cizre town by Şıak City Goveor’s Office on 04/09/2015 until a further notice, in other words, FOR AN UNLIMITED PERIOD still remains in force on its sixth day. In such a big settlement like Cizre with its population more than one hundred thousand (100,000) public life has halted completely for a week now. For your information I attach to this email an appeal issued by the Diyarbaki Bar Association “Call For Emergency Relief and Taking Action for People of Cizre”.
We urgently ask you to give any possible support to Ms. Barbara Spinelli in particular if her work is not respected by the Turkish authorities.
ELDH Secretary General
Diyarbakir Bar Association: Call For Emergency Relief and Taking Action for People of Cizre
The curfew declared in Cizre town by Şıak City Goveor’s Office on 04/09/2015 until a further notice, in other words, FOR AN UNLIMITED PERIOD still remains in force on its sixth day.
In such a big settlement like Cizre with its population more than one hundred thousand (100,000) public life has halted completely for a week now. The inhabitants of the city not have been barred from going out only, but also they have been deprived of principal public services such as electricity, water, waste, health, education and so on. On top of lacking of such services people suffer from shortages of their basic needs of all kinds such as food, medicine, infant nutrition, etc. All means of communication have been disabled by and large with some minor exceptions. Visiting NGO’s, representatives of human rights organisations or other delegations including our Bar Association’s delegation have been barred from the entry.
On the other hand, Cizre has been taken under military siege and all the roads leading to the town centre including the Inteational Silk Road have been closed by military roadblocks. Operation of security forces by armoured vehicles to remove barricades or trenches that have been erected and dug by some groups still continues in the narrow alleys of the town and in the places habituated by innocent civilians. Civilians, particularly in Nur, Cudi and Sur neighbourhoods staying in shelters or basements, to avoid being the target of heavy weapons, are trying to protect themselves.
Injured civilians, even if they bleed for a long time, cannot reach to a health centre. Even though the temperature is over 40 centigrade degrees, the corpses of the ones die a natural death cannot be buried by religious ceremonies and obligations. Bodies are kept in refrigerators or in convenient places such as in the homes where their relatives live. As of yesterday an injured civilian citizen from Cudi neighbourhood called Abdullah ÖZCAN who had been shot in his right leg while praying could not have any access to any health centre for 12 hours and only after three days he managed to reach to Diyarbakir for a treatment. Despite all the efforts spent by doctors in a private hospital in Diyarbakir, yesterday at around 16.00, Abdullah ÖZCAN’s right leg has been amputated below the knee due to delayed treatment and bleeding for a long time before the operation.
As of today wellbeing of people of Cizre is under threat with the danger of the spread of diseases and mass deaths. Many dwellers from Cizre have been contacting with us by their own communication means since yesterday and asking for emergency relief. Local people today are facing with similar circumstances as Palestinian people did in Sabra and Shatila camps in 1982.
– Diyarbakır Bar Association asks from the Govement to halt the ongoing military operations in the neighbourhoods of Cizre town centre immediately, to prevent the massive deaths and end the tragic situation. In the same way we call for the lifting of the curfew before any delay which breaches the law and Constitutional principles.
– We also call for the removal of the stone barricades and trenches in the streets leading to the town centre and an immediate end of any kind of armed conflict in areas where civilians live.
– We request from humanitarian organisations, NGO’s and human rights organisations in Turkey and abroad an IMMEDIATE ACTION, considering the ever worsening life conditions of people in Cizre.
Dear members of the press;
Along with the sufferings Cizre people experienced and threats they faced, there are incidents that deeply moves all parts of the society in general. In the last few days over thirty members of security forces as soldiers and police officers as well as civilians have lost their lives. As a result of ongoing military operations there might be more casualties that we are not aware of. We wholeheartedly share the pain of the families of those who lost their lives. On the other hand parallel to escalating armed clashes in the eastern part of Turkey, a growing number of attacks on poor Kurdish civilians in the western cities of Turkey and incidents of destroying or damaging intercity public transport vehicles operating from Kurdish cities to the west cities of Turkey are escalating.
Dear members of the press;
Our society has not deserved this picture. Since 21 July 2015 the date armed conflicts and operations restarted, Diyarbakır Bar Association in its statements recursively has been calling for an end to these conflicts and stressing that this incidents will bring nothing other than disaster to the people of Turkey. In a statement we made on 31 August 2015 we said that Turkey does not deserve to tu into a Syria; Diyarbakır, İzmir and Istanbul do not deserve to tu into an Aleppo. After the painful experience of last thirty (30) years, the people of Turkey have become mature enough to decide solving its Kurdish issue in peaceful and democratic ways. In fact, the June 7 election results have demonstrated the will of the people in this direction.
Everybody with common sense would appreciate that these conflicts will bring no other outcome than a disaster that will be end of all of us.
We as Diyarbakir Bar Association, by considering the danger is being faced by peoples of Turkey, principally by Kurdish people and elections to be held on 1 November 2015, call for an IMMINENT CEASE OF EVERY KIND OF ARMED CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE by putting aside the discussions over whether it should be unilateral or bilateral in order to give a chance to democratic and peaceful solution of Kurdish issue.
State and govement officials previously made statements in keeping with the President of Republic’s statement that “our security forces would not shoot a single fire without being attacked”. We request from the state officials to abide by their promises.
Thus and so by leaving behind the endless turbulent discussions of “unilateral/bilateral” we believe achieving the truce in practice will be possible.
On behalf of the Diyarbakir Bar Association Board
Lawyer Tahir ELÇİ / President of Bar Assc.