|KHRP Call for Turkey and Iran to End Cross-Border Bombardments in Northern Iraq|
Today, on the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, KHRP urges Turkey and Iran to end the cross-border bombardments that they have waged in northern Iraq for more than two years.
According to media reports, as part of a coordinated effort with Iran, and tactical support from most of its neighbours as well as the US, the Turkish Army is preparing for continued military operations in Kurdistan, Iraq. On Tuesday 6 October 2009, the Turkish Parliament adopted a motion extending the government's mandate to launch cross-border military operations for another year. The immediate effects of armed conflict are well-documented, but often the long-term damage to the environment is little known or seriously considered. Both the Turkish and Iranian governments have persistently claimed that these campaigns are only directed at ousting Kurdish separatist groups the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK). However, as KHRP’s recent legal cases demonstrate, the ongoing cross-border bombardments into northern Iraq not only result in civilian injury and death, but also the destruction of property and degradation of the environment.
In pursuing legal redress on behalf of Iraqi villagers against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights, KHRP are pushing the Court to consider its own jurisdiction. Furthermore, it is also pressing the governments involved whether directly or indirectly, to take greater care when carrying out military action.
'As highlighted by our recent fact-finding mission report on the civilian toll of cross-border operations in Iraq, the operations have led to loss of life and debilitating injury, loss of livelihood and property, the destruction of traditional village modes of life and the trauma of the affected communities’, said KHRP Managing Director, Rachel Bernu. ‘It is imperative that the governments as well as the international community take heed of the full scale and effects of the bombardments on civilians and the long-term damage wrought on the environment.’