As the Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch (IKHRW) reports, terrorist groups have always recruited children as soldiers to compensate their lack of experienced armed men. ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Middle East and Africa and other armed and mafia groups in East Asia and Europe, all recruit the children for suicide attacks, carrying the weapons and explosives, sexual slavery and drug distribution, and as cover to deceive security and law enforcement agencies. This has nothing to do with their ideology. What is important for them is to recruit the children so as to achieve terrorist aims.
Terrorist, mafia and armed groups in the Kurdish regions in Middle East are are included to these crimes. Almost all Kurdish armed groups have recruited children to accomplish their aims by the name of freedom for the Kurdish people, the Kurdish land, imaginary and inassessable slogans; assassination, extortion, sexual relation, drug trafficking etc. are common things that the recruited children in these groups have to welcome in order to survive longer. The PKK terrorist group and its branches do the same. For more than four decades, the PKK and its branches have brought the Kurds war, terror, violence, killing and rape, and child abduction. The displacement and killing of the Kurds is the only achievement during the four decades full of violence. Millions of Kurds have been displaced in Turkey for ever. The worst irony is that the PKK has suffered the most casualties in its terrorist acts! The group that was supposed to bring freedom to the Kurds has turned into a big nightmare for the Kurds. Making Kurdistan as a securized region, due to instability, is another crime committed by the PKK and its branches and other Kurdish armed groups.
But one may say definitely that the most important and horrific crime committed by the PKK/PJAK is the recruitment of children as soldiers and to have them killed in the mountains. The organization abductthe children and even never returns the bodies of Iranian Kurdish teenagers and children to their families. Regardless of political or ideological issues,the IKHRW has repeatedly reported that, it seeks just to stop the abduction, deception, and murder of Iranian Kurdish children, adolescents, and children. The NGO has nothing to do with the PKK/PJAK, nor does it pursue their ideology. It just follows an aim: “Stop the kidnapping, deception and murder of Kurdish children and adolescents.” Addressing all parties, the IKHRW says: “The Iranian government, the governments of the region, the PKK/PJAK, the Democratic Party, and others must stop or prevent from child recruitment.” The Iranian government must encounter these groups seriously and pursue the return process of these individuals or their bodies through the Iraq and Turkey or the local Government of the Kurdistan Region. The PKK/PJAK have no rights to recruit the children for any wars and conflicts with any government. The historical war and conflict among various Kurdish groups and the governments of the region has nothing to do with Kurdish girls, women nor children. We believe that PKK leaders and its branches or the affiliated media, as well as the group’s small number of cybercriminals, regularly visit the IKHRW website. As the IKHRW archive says, most of our production, analysis, and reporting has focused on one issue: “child soldier.”
So the IKHRW is not a political organization nor the tool of any government or organization. All what we say is “do not kidnap children nor have them killed”. We ask why should Iranian Kurds be killed in the PKK-Turkish conflict? Why do you announce the death of your members with a delay of several months? Why do you leave the bodies of your members in the mountains?
But recently, the PKK-affiliated FIRAT news agency published an article on child soldiers, which reflects the group’s wrong approach once again. The PKK is apparently not going to correct its wrongdoing and lies. The text is as following:
“To put pressure on the Kurdistan Liberation Movement (PKK), the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the People’s Defense Units (YPG), Women’s Defense Units (YPJ), Iran’s intelligence agencies, KDP Parastin and Turkish MIT are defending the corps” FIRAT news agency wrote. “The father of Asrin Mohammadi from Rojehlat, Kurdistan, who is mentioned in the report as his daughter, says that Iranian intelligence has sent a letter to his wife using force and threats, adding that “my daughter Asrin, with her own decision and will, has joined the guerrilla forces, she was martyred in the bombardment by the occupying Turkish army. Do not be deceived by the tricks of the ill-wishers and the oppressors. The families of these children have stated that their children have not been abducted and the aim of the Iranian Intelligence Agency and the Turkish MIT is to blackmail the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the People’s Defense Units, and the Women’s Defense Units. HPG, SDF, YPG have signed the Geneva International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Children under 18 years of age, but the occupying regimes of Turkey, Iran and mercenary KDP are trying to distort public opinion. They continue to fight against the Kurdish liberation movement.”
We have quoted the above entirety from FIRAT site in order to respect the trust and to criticize the PKK and its pseudo-media approach in detail.
The IKHRW believes:
First, which independent organization, which significant group of Kurdish people, and which international organization, have described the PKK and its affiliated institutions as the “Kurdistan Liberation Movement”? The PKK, and only the PKK itself, describes itself as liberating, and no other organization. The few so-called PKK-affiliated human rights organizations, with a four-decade history of terrorism, call the group the Freedom Group.
Which liberation group kidnaps children or is involved in drug distribution? Which liberation group is spreading its war against the Turkish government to other countries? With what license and what right has the PKK occupied the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdish regions of Syria? Hasn’t the group’s approach caused Turkey to invade Syria and the region? Who gave the PKK permission / mission to liberate Kurdistan?
FIRAT news agency wrote:
“A campaign aimed at deceiving public opinion entitled ‘kidnapping children’; It is important to see that the PKK and its media have come to believe that kidnapping children and recruiting them as soldiers is an ugly act that violates human rights and international standards. But the deception of public opinion, incidentally, is the approach of the PKK and its pseudo-media. For more than a year, Kurdish mothers have been gathering in front of the HDP office in Diyarbakir. They just want their children to return. Is this also a deception of public opinion? Is Kaveh Saqezi’s actions to kidnap Iranian Kurdish children a public deception? Is the thousands of children killed in the PKK, whose pictures were published by the same FIRAT news agency, a public deception?
Let’s suppose the story of Asrin Mohammadi is not true – which certainly is true. Were the stories of other child soldiers also a lie? Where are Nasser Alizadeh, Benjamin Farajzadeh, Salman Moradi, Khalid Hamedi and many others? Why is FIRAT silent on them? Are these also deceptions of public opinion?
Regarding Asrin, one must say that Asrin Mohammadi’s father himself is a victim like Zeinab Jalalian. These people are victims of the PKK/PJAK, rather than to be accused and guilty. Asrin Mohammadi is the daughter of Hassan Mohammadi, who was abducted by PJAK’s Kaveh Saqezi and killed on suspiciously (according to a PKK-affiliated news agency). But the news of her death was published at least a year and a half later, and this has made the PKK/PJAK narrative unbelievable in this report. The IKHRW had previously stated that “according to reliable information received from local sources, Asrin’s father is an illiterate villager who went to the region to return his daughter after her abduction by PJAK militia and this due to the concerns of Asrin’s mother. But he was imprisoned and threatened by PJAK for about three months. PJAK threatened Asrin and her mother with death. Therefore, Asrin’s father is silent in order to save Asrin and her mother, so he let Asrin stay in PJAK. He could escape with his daughter in a suitable time; they were not successful. The PJAK arrested Asrin’s father in the town of Qaladze and are using him to support PJAK. This is an official hostage-taking that, unfortunately, is not pursued by any media nor political institution in Iran. In fact, the illiteracy of Asrin’s father and poverty on the one hand and the concern to save the family on the other hand have forced him to accompany by them. A news source told the IKHRW that PJAK gunmen told Asrin’s father, “This little girl has caused us trouble. We want to announce that she has been killed in the bombing of Asos Mountain so that the Iranian media forget her.”
Geneva International Convention on the Non-Employment of Children Under 18 Years Old;
If the PKK and its branches have signed the Convention, so, where are these children in Syria? Why are mothers in Diyarbakir still worried about their children?
The IKHRW suggests that the FIRAT agency and the PKK release all children in a simple process to prove their good will.
The IKHRW believes that the story of the child soldiers in the PKK/PJAK is a pure fact. The images in FIRAT itself are self-explanatory. Instead of denying, clumsy lies and passive denial, the FIRAT news agency and the PKK should accept the truth, release the children and condemn terrorism, extortion and murder. The achievement of the PKK’s four decades of war has just been just one thing: “displacement and wandering for theKurds”