Saturday, November 28, 2009

Defend International supports Syrian Kurds


Oslo - Defend International urges Syria on Friday to put an end to all forms of harassment against its Kurdish minority, to investigate these abuses, to follow where evidence leads, and to punish those suspected of violating international law. Earlier Human Rights Watch also asked Syria to change it’s policies towards the Kurds.

Defend International is alarmed by reports that several Kurdish political prisoners have started a hunger strike to protest prison conditions, unfair trial practices and racial discrimination in the Adra prison near the Syrian capital Damascus. After having submitted numerous petitions to the government, they have since October 30 resorted to a hunger strike in a desperate attempt to get the attention of the government.

According to the human rights organization, the Kurds in Syria have suffered from systematic repression characterized by grave violations of their economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, as well as death in custody under torture, indefinite detention without trial, disappearances, widespread arbitrary arrests, torture and other cruel, inhuman treatment or punishment.

Defend International is calling for urgent intervention by the Syrian authorities to put an end to all forms of harassment against its Kurdish minority and punish those suspected of violating international law. It also calls on Syria to ensure conditions of detention conform to international standards for the treatment of prisoners.

Defend International said it has contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross, High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, calling for their urgent intervention to meet the demands of the prisoners, to urge the Syrian authorities to immediately provide prisoners with medical attention if needed, and to protect them from any further torture or ill-treatment.

© Rudaw