Kurdish activist launches 'Justice Vigil' in front of OPCW

Xwaşnav Ata lost two nieces in the fight against the Turkish army. One of them died from the use of chemical weapons. In front of the OPCW HQ in The Hague, the Kurdish activist has launched a 'Justice Vigil' against the inaction of the organization.

The fact that the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Use of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has no interest in reports on Turkish use of chemical weapons in Kurdistan has been known for some time. However, it is also no secret that this is a violation of its obligations. To bring this to public attention, Xwaşnav Ata has launched a "Justice Vigil" in front of the OPCW headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. Every day between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., the Kurdish activist from Germany will appear in front of the building to remind those responsible of the reasons for the creation of the OPCW and to demand their action against Turkey's use of toxic weapons in Kurdistan.

"The Turkish state killed my niece with chemicals. Why won't you investigate?" is written on a purple cardboard sign held by Xwaşnav Ata. It refers to the guerrilla fighter Binevş Agal (Gülperin Ata), who died at the end of May while resisting the Turkish invasion at Kuro Jahro in the Zap region of southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq). The People's Defense Forces (HPG) had said about the circumstances of the death that the Turkish army had fired chemical warfare agents over several days against guerrilla positions where Binevş Agal was in action. For months, the HPG has been reporting daily documented chemical weapons attacks by the military of the Turkish state.

But the OPCW, of which the Turkish state has been a member since 1997, prefers to remain silent. Despite all the reports by the HPG on the use of chemical weapons, calls by Kurdish institutions, research results by relevant organisations and individuals, as well as mass protests by the Kurdish diaspora community, the OPCW is not willing to become active regarding the accusations against Ankara. Even attempts by Kurdish delegations to hold talks with the organisation's officials have been repeatedly refused. And even the receipt of a dossier with concrete documents and evidence of the use of chemical weapons was out of the question for the OPCW. Turkey can break the international law of war with impunity.

"I do not and will not accept this," says Xwaşnav Ata. He states it cannot be that "the children of the Kurdish people" are murdered by brutal chemical weapons attacks by the Turkish state, and the OPCW stands by and watches. "The public should know that the only goal of our society is to experience justice. We want the OPCW to investigate Turkey's chemical weapons use and punish it accordingly. As long as this demand remains unfulfilled, I will not end my protest."

Another of Ata's nieces was martyred in Dersim last December.