United Nations Headquarters in Geneva - Image source: exclusive to “Lelun”
United Nations Headquarters in Geneva - Image source: exclusive to “Lelun”

The Lelun Association For Victims’ Speech at the Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva in its sixteenth session

My name is “Kawa Omar” from Afrin; the Kurdish region in northern Syria and I speak on behalf of the “Lelun Association For Victims”.

Here, from this platform, I would like to convey to you the suffering of our people in the Afrin region, which Turkey has occupied since March 2018. Afrin’s indigenous Kurdish population has suffered from widespread violations since the Turkish military operation started, which forced the majority of Kurdish families to displace and they have been living for more than five years in the camps in the “Shahba” area in the northern countryside of Aleppo, where the minimum necessities of life are not available in light of a stifling siege by the Syrian state.

Turkey is coordinating with the Syrian opposition factions to bring non-Kurdish ethnic groups to the Afrin region, house them in Kurdish homes, seize their property, and work to bring about demographic change in the region.

On the other hand, the remaining Kurds in the Afrin region suffer from persecution and discrimination on an ethnic basis, such as the killing incident of four Kurdish young men by members of an armed faction on 20th March 2023 in Jenderes city, the killing of the lawyer “Luqman Hanan” under torture, which was mentioned in the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria’s report. As well as imposing financial royalties on their crops and kidnapping them in order to collect a financial ransom in exchange for their release.

The Yazidi Kurds and Christians in Afrin are subjected to double violations, through pressure and forcing them to convert to the Islamic religion, and destruct their shrines and graves. An example of this is the loss of the Yazidi citizen “Arin Deli” of her fetus as a result of brutal torture in the factions’ prisons due to her religious affiliation.

From this platform, we call on the international community to put pressure on Turkey, as an occupying state, to shoulder its responsibilities by putting an end to the violations being practiced in Afrin, Ras al-Ain/Serê Kaniyê and Tal Abyad/Girê Spî, against their indigenous populations.

Thank you very much

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