Sinn Féin’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Seán Crowe, has commended the UN Human Rights Office for today releasing a hard hitting report into the serious human rights and international law violations by the Turkish security forces, in the majority Kurdish south-east of the country. Over half a million people have been displaced, 100,000 have dismissed from their jobs, and thousands have been jailed and tortured.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“This UN report documents the gross human rights violations that Kurdish groups have been telling the world for years.

“Since the Turkish Government ended its 2 year old ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in July 2015 Turkish forces have killed and tortured thousands. This UN report clearly and forensically shows this. The most serious abuses took place during periods of curfew imposed for several days at a time.

“UN investigators documented how Turkish Government operations severely affected more than 30 towns and neighbourhood. The hard hitting reports details how up to 500,000 people, mostly Kurds, were displaced between July 2015 and December 2016.

“It also details that since the Turkish Government implemented a state of emergency following the attempted coup in July 2016, it has used its emergency powers to dismiss more than 100,000 people from public or private sector jobs, and that this approach has also deeply impacted on the human rights situation in the south-east.

“It is also highly critical of the use of so-called ‘counter-terrorism legislation’ that is being used to remove democratically elected officials of Kurdish origin, severely harass any independent journalists, close independent and Kurdish language media and citizen’s associations, and the mass suspension or dismissal  of judges and prosecutors. This unprecedented approach has also weakened it claims any checks and balances and human rights protections in the country.

“This is not a country that anyone could credible describe as a ‘country of safe origin’ in order to send refugees back into this maelstrom, but that is what the European Union is currently doing.

“I have repeatedly raised Turkey’s complete disregard of international law and its human rights violations in the south-east of the country and against Kurds with the Irish Government. I intend to raise this damning UN report with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs as soon as possible and will be demanding appropriate action from the Irish Government following this report.”