Turkey must prevent further Kurdish protest deaths

‘Any use of force by the security forces must be strictly in line with international human rights standards’ - Andrew Gardner
 
The Turkish government must act to stop spiralling violence rocking the predominantly Kurdish south-east of Turkey where 19 people have been killed and many others injured during protests prompted by the advance of the Islamic State armed group towards Syria’s border with Turkey. 
 
Protesters have accused the Turkish government of doing nothing to prevent killings of Kurdish people in Kobani or Islamic State’s advance. 
 
Up to 19 people have reportedly been shot or beaten to death during violent clashes between the protesters and Islamist groups they claim are sympathetic to Islamic State. In the city of Varto in the eastern province of Muþ, 25-year-old Hakan Buksur was killed after police used live ammunition against stone-throwing protesters. In the city protesters threw stones at police and set public buildings alight. Police were joined by the army and military police, and curfews were declared as the authorities attempt to restore order across the region. Protests and clashes with police also took place in Turkey’s three largest cities, the capital Ankara, Istanbul and Ýzmir. 
 
Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey Andrew Gardner said:
 
“The government’s actions now will have far-reaching consequences. Calming the situation and investigating the deaths during yesterday’s bloody clashes will help bring some stability to a troubled region.
 
“Any use of force by the security forces must be strictly in line with international human rights standards, in particular the principles of necessity and proportionality.”
 

Refugees from Kobani

In the last month up to 200,000 Kurdish refugees from the Kobani area have fled to Turkey since the Islamic State assault on the city. Refugees arriving from Kobani and surrounding villages on 25 September told an Amnesty delegate on the border of widespread killings of Kurdish civilians and other abuses by advancing Islamic State forces.
 
It is thought that up to 5,000 civilians may remain in the Kobani area, where armed clashes are currently taking place between Islamic State and the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG). Kobani, which has been held by YPG forces since July 2012, has been under siege and assault by Islamic State since July 2013, and has come under renewed and more sustained attack in recent weeks.
 
Andrew Gardner added: 
 
“It is crucial that in this volatile situation, amid reports that the IS is seeking to cut off escape routes from Kobani to Turkey, that the border is kept open to refugees from Syria.”

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