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Syrian organizations call on UN to help end arbitrary arrests in Afrin

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Four Syrian organizations on Monday called on the United Nations to pressure Turkey to put an end to the systematic practice of arbitrary arrests in northwestern Syria by Turkish-backed armed groups.

The Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ), the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC), PÊL–Civil Waves, and Hevdestî–Synergy submitted a complaint to the UN Working Groups on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples about arbitrary detentions in Afrin.

According to STJ data, from January 2021 to August 2021, 289 people have been arrested in Afrin, of which only 76 have been released.

“STJ’s investigations have revealed that Kurdish people, indigenous to the region where the arrests are taking place, are disproportionately at risk of being arbitrarily arrested — a finding corroborated by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,” the joint statement by the organizations said.

A report issued last week by the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria also stated that the Turkish-supported Syrian National Army (SNA) continues to unlawfully arrest Kurdish citizens in areas under their control in northern Syria such as in Tal Abyad, Afrin, and Ras al-Ain (Serekaniye).

STJ executive director Bassam al-Ahmad told Kurdistan 24 Monday that the four Syrian human rights organizations have prepared the complaints to update the UN Special Rapporteur on these issues.

 “It’s important that we also speak out in the media about human rights violations in Syria, but we also should make the UN aware about what is going on in areas occupied by Turkey, such as in Afrin.”

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