Kurdish YPG responds to Human Rights Watch concerns about child soldiers

PKK Verbot Image Source: Montecruz Foto, Flickr, Creative Commons

PKK Verbot
Image Source: Montecruz Foto, Flickr, Creative Commons

Rojava, Syria (TFC) – The Kurdish group in opposition to the Islamic State in Syria, the YPG (People’s Protection Units), have responded to Human Rights Watch’s critiques of their practices. The Kurds pointed out that these were isolated incidents and that the officers in charge of the units that recruited children would be punished. The entire letter is published below.

Keep in mind that the letter was drafted by Kurds. Errors can be attributed to limited English proficiency.

To Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch issued on 15 July 2015 report to public opinion in which accused our units recruiting those under the legal age in hostilities. We highly appreciate report of the Human Rights Watch and their care about humanitarian laws and achieve them in the international community and their serious attention about the commitment of our units to humanitarian laws.  We will follow up cases that have referenced in the report. Although the report stated that there is progress in the cases of the commitment of our units to the signed instruments  with Geneva Call, also they referred to the brutality of the attack waged by Daash the terrorist organization without distinction child from women and old man from fighter. Daash don not respect any rights and laws in light of his open and dirty war on our people, our land and our dignity. Despite all this and  that we have signed the instruments of Geneva Call to  prevent  the recruitment of those under the legal age because of our belief to what approved by the regulations of human rights in a free society. In addition to the individual cases that do not express our policy, we the only military force that has real steps on the ground in hell of the contradictions in Syria. Therefore, the demobilization of the number of those under the legal age, open certain centers for them far from the battle fronts and even punish officers  who contributed in violating what does not accepted to our principles before laws and regulations. Moreover, we are the only military force on the ground in Syria open for the humanitarian and human rights organizations and deal with all transparency in order to reach what is best. We affirm our commitment to what we have signed in the agreements, despite the great challenges that we referred to earlier as a result of the cultural situation of community and deteriorating economic situation, in addition to declared war on us by the most dangerous and deadly terrorist organization. At the time when we are asked by a free society comply with the provisions of the regulations of human rights in the midst of the envelope extraordinary that we are going through in which our people threatened by genocide. We also look forward to the free world to offer a helping hand to support us and together we can find a healthy environment and appropriate to overcome these obstacles in by estalishing the principles of freedom and democracy.

General Command of the People’s Protection Units

22 July 2015