Turkey’s Village Guard System – Still in Place, Still an Obstacle
Kurdish Human Rights Project released a briefing paper today on Turkey’s long running, problematic village guard system. This system, which was established in its current form in 1985, has been responsible for numerous human rights violations and other crimes.
Currently the village guard system represents a major obstacle to the return of Kurds who were displaced from their villages during the 1990s but also the larger development of a peaceful political solution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey.
Although on the payroll of the Turkish state ostensibly to help ensure security, the guards are more often associated with rampant rights violations of civilians and each other. Reports of criminal acts and rights violations carried out by the village guards in Turkey have led international human rights groups, the EU and bodies within the Turkish government to call for the abolition of the system.
Although the Turkish government has repeatedly stated its intention to disband the system, to date they continue recruitment for it. In this, the village guards continue to violate the rights of returnees and each other, largely with impunity.
‘It is shockingly contradictory that the same Turkish government continues to use this system, which it has itself recognized is inherently and irreparably flawed, is the government that has made so many legislative changes to help better protect human rights in Turkey. By continuing this failed system, the government does itself and its people a disservice and undermines human rights advancements in other areas. Is Turkey committed to human rights for all of its citizens or not?' KHRP Managing Director, Rachel Bernu asked.
A copy of KHRP’s briefing paper can be found here here
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Anna Irvin / Rachel Bernu
Kurdish Human Rights Project
11 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1DH
Tel: 020 7405 3835
The Kurdish Human Rights Project (KHRP) is a UK registered charity committed to the promotion and protection of the human rights of all persons living within the Kurdish regions. Its innovative and strategic approach to international human rights practice, combined with a long-term and consistent presence in the region, enables it to secure redress for survivors of human rights violations and prevent abuse in the future.
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