KCDK-E calls on the OPCW to send a fact-finding delegation to Kurdistan

The Kurdish European Confederation KCDK-E accuses the OPCW of disrespect towards 45 million Kurds and calls on the organisation to finally fulfil its mandate and investigate the use of chemical weapons in Kurdistan.

The Kurds are the world's largest people without their own state. The freedom movement led by Abdullah Öcalan abandoned the idea of an independent Kurdistan as its own state decades ago and instead pursues the model of "democratic confederalism", in which people organise themselves independently of state borders. However, the absence of a separate state also has considerable disadvantages in the etatist world order. For example, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) claims that it can only act at the request of a member state.

In a statement criticizing the inaction of the OPCW, the KCDK-E, the umbrella organisation of Kurdish organisations in Europe, said: "Because the OPCW and its member states remain silent, the Erdogan regime continues to kill guerrilla fighters and civilians in Kurdistan with chemical weapons. Although Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has openly admitted that banned agents were used in the attacks in northern Iraq, the OPCW maintains its silence."

Akar had publicly stated that tear gas was used in the February 2021 operation in Gare. While tear gas is used in demonstrations and for "counter-insurgency" purposes, it is explicitly banned in military conflicts, according to international jurisprudence.

The KCDK-E statement went on to say: "According to its own statute, the OPCW was established to prevent the use of chemical weapons. 193 states are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). In a tweet on 19 October, the OPCW said it could only act at the request of a member state. This means leaving peoples to the mercy of one state and agreeing to a systematic continuation of massacres.

However, we know from the near past that the OPCW responded to indications of the use of chemical weapons in Duma and Ghouta and sent a delegation to Syria for investigations. To ignore the calls for an investigation in Kurdistan is a disrespect to the Kurdish people of 45 million people.

The OPCW must finally accept the information provided by the Kurdish people and the IPPNW as a denunciation and give a positive response to the calls. It must send a fact-finding delegation to Kurdistan and do everything necessary to ensure that the use of chemical weapons is investigated.

As Kurds, we will continue to resolutely demand our democratic rights in the streets and at all levels until the OPCW and its member states act. We call on the OPCW to immediately fulfil its humanitarian, legal and universal mandate."