Many child soldiers have been killed in the PKK and its affiliates, which is a gross violation of human rights, and international law, including the Geneva Conventions, that emphasize the rights of children. But leaders of militant groups such as the PKK continue to use people under the age of 18 to provide for its manpower.
It is unfortunate that international human rights organizations and institutions, and of course the Western media, which calls themselves supporters and defenders of human rights, are silent in this regard!
In order to better and more fully explain this human rights violation of PJAK against children (people under the age of 18), the Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch has talked to some members who have defected from the PKK.
Earlier in this format, we published conversations of children killed in this group, which also attracted the attention of the audience.
The following conversation is about a person named “Hediyeh Tahai” who was only 14 years old when she joined that group.
The full text of the conversation is as follows:
What do you think are the areas where PJAK mainly tries to deceive Iranian Kurdish children and what are the reasons for that?
The main areas are Chaldoran, Mako and border villages of Salmas. Those have always been at the top of PJAK’s Iranian recruits. Chaldoran is a part of Mako city in West-Azerbaijan. The reasons for recruitment in these areas are the lack of education and the general attitude of the people of the region towards women, and of course, extreme poverty. Most of the people in these areas are engaged in animal husbandry, border smuggling, and other activities in the mountains.
Do you know how Hediyeh was recruited, her state of mind, age and education?
My name is “Shahin Qotour” and I saw Hediyeh Tahai with the code name “Ekin Chaldoran” in the Zap area in 2009. Ekin was recruited through her cousin. Her cousin’s name was Amara. They were both absorbed between the ages of 14 and 15. Their area is different from other Kurdish inhabited areas of Iran, because of the families’ view of girls and women. They see them as small, unable, and of course most of them are not being allowed to continue their education. In that area, girls are mostly taken to the mountains to look after livestock in early spring, and many weave carpets at home in the colder months.
How was her career in the group and where did she progress?
Before answering this question, let me say that most of these areas are inhabited by tribes and every tribe has a special accent. Hediyeh Tahai had the same regional accent a few years later in 2011 when I left the group. Hediyeh was initially trained in the Xakurke area, and then sent to the HPG’s female wing, the YJA-star.
She was sent to train in semi-automatic weapons. She was making progress during the first two years she stayed with the group. But unfortunately, young members like Hediyeh are soon affected by the environment and by the people around them.
Do you remember him?
Due to the fact that she was so young, I wanted to talk to him in Zap.
She was ill and had come to visit the doctor, but two other people were taking care of her, which was probably to prevent her from escaping.
She had fallen in love with a boy from Turkey and they had planned to escape together. The boy was lucky, and manage to escape. He was from Van. But little Ekin got caught and spent several months in a women’s detention center – without a gun.
This is perhaps the greatest crime: to suppress the feelings of these children and adolescents, and locking them up if they dare to show them! These children, who are in their teens and whose emotions are as uncontrollable as they were at time of recruitment, are exposed to emotional assassination.
That day in the clinic, I managed to talk to her. As soon as she spoke, I found out that she is from Iranian Kurdistan as well and speaks Kermanji. I asked her when she was recruited and she said it has been two years.. I asked her: “how do you see PKK”?
She only laughed and said nothing. This laugh had a thousand meanings. I had just arrived from a distant camp in Turkey, she asked me a little about it and I said it is too difficult for you, your body needs more physical strength, it is not ready.
But after a while, I heard she was killed in Turkey and in the mountains of Cudi region.
You have a separate analysis about this, especially since you yourself were deceived as a child?
Yes, I was deceived as a child like ‘Ekin’ or Hediyeh. We were recruited to serve and die in PKK, not PJAK. PJAK claims to be at war with Iran, but is in fact recruiting Iranian Kurdish teenagers for the PKK. Many or all of the recruited Iranian Kurdish members that die in Turkey on a regular basis are deceived by PJAK’s promises, and do not know what a bitter end awaits them after the next day.
In fact, Ekin went to Turkey at this young age to try to escape, not because she wanted to die there. Her cousin was also killed in the Zagros region on the Turkish border, and even her (Amara’s) family could not go to see the body.
In Turkey, I’ve heard there is a cemetery that is kept up by the municipality where most of the Iranian members of the PKK are located. Their graves are unnamed.
Osman Ocalan understood one thing right, and that was the internal issues between men and women members. He himself was one of those who said that you kill the sense of emotion and natural instincts of human beings, that one day the group will implode because of this behavior.