AAID: Protection of Human Rights: Civil, Political, Economic, Social, and Cultural

African Agency for Integrated Development (AAID) – Human Rights Council, 42nd regular session of the Human Rights Council

Mr. President,
Six months ago, I informed this body about Turkey’s brutal military occupation of Afrin in northwestern Syria – also known as Rojava. And since there has been no international accountability against Erdogan’s Government, the Turkish Army and their allied militant proxies have only continued their unrelenting terror on Afrin’s Kurdish population – who are suffering social oppression, economic robbery, and cultural annihilation.

Socially, the Kurds of Afrin are suffering arbitrary arrest, torture, rapes, assassinations, enforced disappearances at checkpoints, late-night abductions, burning down of their villages, and neighborhood demolition to build walls around the city.

Economically, the Kurds of Afrin are suffering looting of stores, seizure of their homes,
confiscation of land, forced sharia taxes, extortion of businesses, over 5,000 kidnappings for ransom, deliberate arson of over 11,000 hectares of forest, and the systematic theft of Afrin’s olive oil industry – which is then illegally sold in Europe.

Culturally, the Kurds of Afrin are suffering demographic ethnic cleansing, Turkification of the education system and street names, destruction of Kurdish cultural monuments, vandalism of tombs, pillaging of grave sites, desecration of Alevi and Yazidi holy shrines, cutting down of sacred ribbon trees, and the archaeological excavation and smuggling of over 16,000 historical artifacts – which are then illegally sold to museums in Turkey.

Hundreds of thousands of Afrin’s Kurdish residents have had to flee Turkey’s state terror and this council has a moral duty to defend their human rights.

Thank you.