ECtHR to examine complaints against Turkey’s curfew measures

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A woman reacts as she arrives to Sirnak city on November 14, 2016 after a 246-day curfew was partially lifted. The curfew in Sirnak, a city of 290,000, was imposed on March 14 as part of operations to eradicate the PKK from eastern Turkey. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

Complaints against curfews imposed by authorities in Turkey’s Southeast are now under examination at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), according to humanrightseurope.org.

A statement published by the court on Thursday reads: “The European Court of Human Rights has decided to communicate various complaints to the Turkish government in the 34 applications concerning the curfew measures taken in Turkey since August 2015 and has asked them to submit their observations.”

Other complaints were declared inadmissible, the court said.

Following the breakdown of a cease-fire in July 2015, clashes broke out between people affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces. In response to declarations of “self-governance,” the building of barricades and digging of trenches in many southeastern towns, authorities began imposing 24-hour curfews and carrying out heavily militarized security operations.

“The ECtHR’s ruling in the cases will be given at a later date. The complaints which have been communicated are related, among other things, to allegations of: unlawful killings and failure to take steps to protect the right to life; ill-treatment; and, unlawful deprivation of liberty on account of some of the applicants’ confinement to their homes for extended periods,” said the court.

The complaints rely on Article 2 [right to life], Article 3 [prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment] and Article 5 [right to liberty and security] of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

“Some of the applicants also complain about the arrest and detention in prison of their legal representative and the government’s alleged failure to comply with a number of interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, in breach of Article 34 (right to individual application),” said the court’s statement, adding that most of the requests concerned incidents that had taken place in Şırnak’s Cizre and Diyrbakır’s Sur districts.

According to a report released by Amnesty International earlier this month, tens of thousands of residents of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sur are among an estimated half million people forced from their homes as a result of a brutal crackdown by Turkish authorities over the past year which may amount to collective punishment.

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