Condemning closing offices of Syria’s Kurdish National Council (ENKS) and the arrest of 13 members

Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights (FFHR/Birati) has again announced it suspended its activities in Syria’s Kurdish-held areas ruled by the PYD-led autonomous administration, as it has already suspended its activities on March 15, 2017, in protest against the closure of the offices of Syria’s Kurdish National Council (ENKS) and the arrest of 13 of its leading members: Fasla Yusef, Narin Matini, Mahmud Malla, Mohsen Taher, Abdelsamad Khalaf Biro, Fathi Gaddo, Ahmed Ajeh, Mahmoud Haj Ali, Farhad Tami, Mohamed Amin Hossam, Noreldin Fattah, Taher Hassaf, and Qassem Sherif.

FFHR/Birati suspended its activities condemning the pressure policies practiced by official and non-official groups of this administration led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria in alliance with Kurdish, Arab and Syriac parties against political and civil organizations opposed to the PYD-led administration.

Practicing pressure on the political and civil organizations to forcibly accept the PYD-led administration, a patrol of its Kurdish security forces, known as Asayish, on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 raided an ENKS office in the city of Qamishli, which was reopened a few days ago rejecting the decisions of the PYD-led administration to oblige all political and civil organizations in their areas of control to apply for a license to operate in the said region. The ENKS considers the PYD-led administration decisions as unilateral and incompatible with many political parties, and ENKS does not participate in the PYD-led administration along with a number of Kurdish, Syriac and Arab parties, so ENKS and its allied parties demand the formation of a new structure for the administration in northern Syria in line with the political reality in the region.

Therefore, FFHR/Birati condemns the arrest of members and cadres of political and civil organizations that oppose the authority of the PYD-led administration, and thus FFHR/Birati rejects to restrain these arrests under the pretexts of provisions relating to criminal offenses as promoted by the ruling authorities, as the reopening of ENKS office is a civilian peaceful expression of protest against the PYD-led decisions and thus the ENKS act is fully compatible with freedom of expression that has been guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as stated in the Article 9, “No one shall be arrested, detained or exiled arbitrarily,” and Article 3, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security.” Article 19 also states, ” Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Article 20 (1) also states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.” Article 20 (2) also states, “No one may be compelled to belong to an association.”

The ENKS stance is also consistent with Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paragraph 3 which states, “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government,” as ENKS represents a considerable portion of people living in areas controlled by the PYD-led administration.

The arrest of ENKS members and political activists violates the above-mentioned articles and provisions. Therefore, FFHR/Birati calls on the authorities of the PYD-led administration to immediately and unconditionally release the detainees and calls for stopping those campaigns of intimidation, which contribute to further disruption of civil peace.

On the other hand, Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights (FFHR/Birati) calls on Syria’s Kurdish National Council (ENKS) to change its discourse towards the PYD-led administration and to stop labeling it with “terrorism” only for the purpose of unreasonable political gains.

Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights (FFHR/Birati)

May 10, 2017