Report on Cizre: Turkish forces deliberately targeted civilians

AMED (ANF) – Human rights organizations have released a report they prepared following a scene-examination in Cizre district of Şırnak. The report reveals that state forces deliberately targeted and shot civilians dead, violated their right to health and denied them access to treatment.

IHD (Human Rights Association), TIHV (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey) Amed Branch, Amed Chamber of Medicine and General Practice Association (PHD) Amed Branch visited the town for an examination of the state terror between 4 and 12 September.

Releasing the report at a press conference in Amed, IHD General Vice President and Amed Branch Co-Chair Raci Bilici recalled that they were denied access to the town despite all their efforts during the course of the curfew and were able to enter the town only after the lifting of the curfew.

‘ISOLATION MUST END, TALKS MUST BE RECOMMENCED’

Bilici said they faced a terrifying scene during their examination as they talked to the families of slain civilians, witnesses and health personnel in the town.

Calling attention to the urgency of ending the conflict environment, Bilici urged the removal of the aggrevated isolation on Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and return to the table of negotiations.

‘CIVILIANS WERE DELIBERATELY TARGETED’

Speaking after, TIHV Representative Barış Yavuz underlined that state forces deliberately targeted and shot civilians, while also denying those wounded access to hospital. Remarking that the inhabitants of the town were also cut off from the outside world as electiricty, water and mobile phone services were all suspended, Yavuz noted that the houses and workplaces of the people were also targeted by attacks and demolished.

FINDINGS

Some of the findings highlighted in the report are as follows;

* The examining delegation reached the conclusion that operations by state forces in civilian settlements took no account of the civilians’ security of life and property, resorted to use of excessive force and perpetrated heavy violations of human rights. During the eight days of curfew, a total of 22 citizens lost their life, mainly as a result of armed fire and denial of access to urgent treatment service.

* State’s security forces participating in operations deliberately targeted civilians with armed fire and hindered the access of emergency service staff to neighborhoods.

* Those denied access to medical service were treated by locals in houses amid a lack of hygiene and medicine, as a result of which many of those wounded didn’t respond to treatment and died, while some others lost their lives at the scene where they were shot. Even after the ending of the curfew, wounded civilians abstained from visiting hospitals due to ecurity of life, and continued receiving treatment in their houses.

* During the operations, houses and workplaces of many citizens were damaged, while many others were forced to leave home and the town due to a lack of security of life and property.

* Due to a lack of any assessment after the curfew and operations that were supposedly conducted for the ‘capture of organisation members’, it has been concluded that the operation was in fact conducted in the form of an attack, intimidation, threat and deterrence against the people.

* The incidents have also caused a critical psychic trauma for the children.

* Our delegation concluded that the uncollected garbage in streets and neighborhoods could lead up to serious health problems.

DEMANDS

The report listed the following demands in the wake of the recent incidents in the town;

* Regardless of the cause and manner of the incidents, our delegation condemns the attacks that targeted civilians and resulted in heavy violations of human rights, the right to life in the first place, also demanding an effective investigation to expose all the aspects of the incidents.

* Our delegation proposes launching of immediate judicial and administrative investigations regarding the practices of security forces that threatened civilians’ security of life and property during and after the operation, and suspension from office of concerned personnel and superior authorities during the course of the investigations.

* In consideration of the serious damages inflicted on the houses and properties of civilians, which constitutes a violation of the Article 35 of the Constitution, the damages on the right of property must be covered immediately. Şırnak Governor’s Office must form a damage and loss determination commission and cover the victimization suffered by civilians during the incidents.

* Considering the suspension of electricity, water and mobile network services during the operations as a restriction and violation of rights, our delegation demands an immediate exposure as to which institution ordered these interruptions for which reason.

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