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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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KHRP Condemns Kidnapping of German Nationals in Turkey

KHRP is deeply concerned by the reported kidnapping of three German nationals by the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The individuals, who were part of a 13-member climbing team on an expedition on Mount Ararat, Agri province, were reportedly taken hostage when five PKK fighters approached their camp on 9 July.

According to a statement by the PKK’s armed wing, the People’s Defense Forces (HPG), the incident is a response to alleged German policies against the Kurds and the PKK, and the hostages will not be released until these are fully renounced. The claims are likely to be related to the recent banning in Germany of the Kurdish satellite TV channel ROJ TV as well as a series of raids on Kurdish organisations in Germany. HPG was quoted as saying that the hostages are safe and in good health, calling on the Turkish authorities to stop any military action in the region which might harm them.

KHRP is concerned by this unlawful act, which harkens back to the height of the conflict during the 1990s.  Not only does it violate a number of provisions under international law including Article 1(b) of Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 (common Article 3), as well as Article 4(2)(c) of the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), it does nothing to advance dialogue or bring peace to these regions. Further, the killing or harming of those hostages would violate the prohibitions against the murder of and the use of violence against civilians in paragraph 1 of common Article 3 and Article 4 of Protocol II. These provisions have specific relevance to the conflict within Turkey’s borders and are  binding for all parties to the conflict.

Speaking with regard to yesterday’s incident, KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz said that ‘the PKK’s commanders have a responsibility to ensure that their forces abide by the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law, designed to protect civilians and combatants outside of combat.  KHRP calls on the commander of the PKK’s armed forces to ensure the swift release of the hostages. Indeed, the resort to such militaristic tactics – by all parties involved – continues to hinder the long-term and peaceful resolution of the conflict in the southeast ’.