On the 14th of December, 2015, the Turkish government imposed a curfew in the town of Cizre in Turkish Kurdistan which remained in place until the 2nd of March, 2016. The national authorities claimed that the curfews in Southeast Turkey were necessary in order to protect civilians, while dealing with the PKK and the hostilities that escalated after the end of the ceasefire agreement between the government and the PKK. Throughout that time, it was impossible to keep track of the hostilities between the Turkish security forces and the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), later becoming the Civil Protection Units (YPS) associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Thus, it was also impossible to monitor and investigate the human rights violations occurring at the time. Following the partial lifting of the curfew in the town of Cizre on the 2nd of March 2016, the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity for the Oppressed (MAZLUMDER) visited Cizre to track human rights violations that had occurred during the curfews.
This report by the MAZLUMDER Conflcit Investigation and Resolution Group gives account of the meetings and interviews with locals, including representatives from various governmental institutions and families of the victims. Additionally, it provides numerous photos evidencing human rights violations. The association found that the clashes in Cizre have had serious consequences for the everyday life of the residents, including deaths, diseases, homelessness, and internal migration, and the violation that fundamental human rights, including the right to life, the right to education and the right to access to healthcare, accommodation have been violated. The association also established that in addition to the killings in the basements of Cizre, many civilian deaths occurred as a result of heavy weapons used by the security forces, including snipers and shelling. Thus, MAZLUMDER calls for legal actions and fair, transparent and efficient proceedings to be undertaken by the competent authorities.
This report provides data that can be used in the legal analysis of the nature of the conflict. When defined as a non-international armed conflict (NIAC), the belligerent parties in Southeast Turkey must adhere to the applicable rules of international humanitarian law, including the prohibition of attacks on civilians and civilian objects. Civilians whose rights are breached during the NIAC, in principle have a right to reparations, including prompt and impartial investigations into the circumstances, as well as a compensation and a guarantee of non-repetition.