Monday, November 15, 2010

UN: Access to health services 'severely hindered' for Kurds in Syria

15 November 2010

United Nations special rapporteur Annand Grover said Kurds in Syria has limited access to the health services.

Special rapporteur appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council Groves announced the results of his nine day visit to Syria yesterday. He praised the accomplishments of the Syrian governments health services in non-Kurd parts of the country and added that access to health services in Kurdish region is "severely hindered".

"The situation of one of the vulnerable groups in Syria, currently some 300,000 persons of Kurdish origin, is of particular concern to me," Grover said in a statement issued at a news conference in Damascus.

"Originally, over 100,000 persons of Kurdish origin were rendered stateless by decree in 1962, and as a result they have been deprived of the enjoyment of many rights, including the right to health," he said.

Grover said that "access to health care for these vulnerable individuals is seriously hindered."

He noted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has committed to resolve the issue."

"I urge the government to follow up on that resolve, as it otherwise casts a shadow over the many remarkable accomplishments in the context of the enjoyment of the right to health," Grover said.

He refused to make detailed public comments, saying his findings would be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2011, as part of a detailed report on the human-rights situation in Syria.

In 2007 Assad said that concrete measures would be taken to grant Kurds Syrian nationality. Nearly 2 million Kurds live in Syria, mainly in the north bordering Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan region. They comprise ten percent of the population and have long sought official recognition of the Kurdish language and their culture.

Kurds in Syria also suffer severe discrimination because of their ethnicity. Many of them are denied Syrian nationality and therefore do not receive the full provision of education, employment, health care and other rights enjoyed by Syrian nationals.