United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called on Turkey to investigate kidnappings, disappearances, and other human rights abuses carried out by Turkish-backed armed groups in Afrin, Ras al-Ain/Sere Kaniye, and Tel Abyad.
“The UN Human Rights Office also documented the abduction and disappearance of civilians, including women and children, among other serious human rights violations. The fate of some of these detainees and abductees remains unknown,” a press release issued on September 18th by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated, referencing the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria’s most recent report.
Bachelet called on Turkey “to respect international law and to ensure that violations committed by armed groups under Turkey’s effective control cease.”
“People living in these areas whose rights have been violated are entitled to protection and a remedy. In this regard, I urge Turkey to immediately launch an impartial, transparent and independent investigation into the incidents we have verified, account for the fate of those detained and abducted by the affiliated armed groups and hold accountable those responsible for what may, in some instances, amount to crimes under international law, including war crimes,” she said.
“This is all the more vital given that we have received disturbing reports that some detainees and abductees have allegedly been transferred to Turkey following their detention in Syria by affiliated armed groups.”
To date, the Missing Afrin Women Project has documented over 150 reports of women and girls who have been kidnapped in occupied Afrin. Only about one-third of these individuals have reportedly been released.