Languages: Kurdî ‏سۆرانی‎

Call on OPCW to Immediately Investigate Turkey`s Use of Chemical Weapons

On November 29 the Twenty-Sixth Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CSP-26) opened in The Hague, providing a unique opportunity for its 193 member states to show their practical determination to prevent and sanction the use of chemical weapons. In his opening statement, Director-General Fernando Arias drew attention to that day`s Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare. He found meaningful words for the importance of OPCW`s work and promised to increase the organization’s work for all victims of chemical weapons. He stressed the OPCW’s solidarity with victims and its “ongoing commitment to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons.”

As the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), we attribute great importance to the CSP-26 and are following this important meeting closely. For decades, the Turkish state has been using chemical weapons against the civilian population and the resisting guerrilla forces in Kurdistan. Since April 23 of this year, Turkey has massively increased the use of these banned weapons as part of its occupation attacks on South Kurdistan (North Iraq). It has used chemical weapons daily there—more than 300 such attacks have been officially confirmed.

Numerous international appeals have been made to the OPCW, the UN, and the ICRC to investigate and prevent these war crimes, but none of these institutions has yet responded. The CSP-26 offers a very important opportunity for the OPCW, the UN, and the ICRC to respond to those international calls and live up to their task of protecting humanity from the use of chemical weapons.

We once again invite the OPCW and all its member states to take seriously the reports from the affected areas in South Kurdistan, to immediately send an expert delegation to the affected Behdinan region there, to carry out on-site investigations, and thus to prevent Turkey`s use of chemical weapons in the region.

If the OPCW were to ignore its responsibility to protect all people against chemical weapons, it would violate its own regulations and seriously harm the credibility of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). We therefore hope that the OPCW will use the CSP-26 as an opportunity to live up to its legal and moral responsibility and send a delegation to South Kurdistan as soon as possible.

Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)

November 30, 2021