Lebanon asks UN Security Council to pressure Israel after ‘airspace violation’

Lebanese President Michel Aoun. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2018

Lebanon asks UN Security Council to pressure Israel after ‘airspace violation’

BEIRUT: Officials in Lebanon closely followed the recent military developments between Israel and Syria, and noted the fall of fragments from rockets used in the confrontation in the Bekaa and southern Lebanon areas.
President Michel Aoun consulted with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is outside Lebanon, about the position to be taken in this regard.
Lebanese Defense Minister Yacoub Sarraf called the UNIFIL commander, General Michael Perry, and conveyed to him “Lebanon’s rejection of the continuous Israeli violations that took place on Saturday in the form of mock raids carried out by Israeli warplanes above villages and towns in the south.”
Sarraf’s press office stressed “Lebanon’s rejection and condemnation of the use of Lebanese airspace by Israel to carry out its raids,” describing the incident as a “blatant violation of Lebanese sovereignty.”
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry in a statement condemned “the raids on Syria” and stressed the right of “legitimate self-defense against any Israeli aggression.” The statement added that “this aggressive policy practiced by Israel threatens stability in the region,” calling on “the countries concerned to rein in Israel to stop its aggression.”
It said: “Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil gave his instructions last Thursday to the Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York to file a complaint with the Security Council against Israel, calling for the condemnation of Israel and warning it against using Lebanese airspace to launch attacks against Syria.”
In New York, Lebanon called on the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council to pressure Israel to immediately stop its violations of Lebanese airspace to launch airstrikes on Syrian territory.
“Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty are continuing by land, sea and air without any respect for international law or any consideration of Resolution 1701,” Lebanese Ambassador to the UN Amal Mudallali said in a complaint to the UN chief and the presidency of the UN Security Council.
Mudallali pointed out that Lebanon “had informed the Security Council in a previous complaint last year about Israel’s violation of Lebanese airspace in its raid on Syrian territory on Sept. 7, 2017,” asserting that these violations “paint a very dangerous pattern in addition to the patterns of daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty and constitute a new cycle of destabilization of regional security and peace by Israel.”
Mudallali reiterated Lebanon’s commitment to Resolution 1701 and called on the Security Council and the international community to “exert the necessary and effective pressure on Israel to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the resolution and its full implementation without delay, including the cessation of all violations of Lebanese airspace and sovereignty.”

Fresh allegations about mistreatment of Kurds in Turkey

Updated 29 September 2020

Fresh allegations about mistreatment of Kurds in Turkey

  • Opposition party submits parliamentary question on torture after villagers allegedly thrown from military helicopter

ANKARA: The mistreatment of Kurds in Turkey is under the spotlight again following allegations of torture and food poisoning.

Three politicians from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) who were recently arrested said they were hospitalized with food poisoning during their detention, while Amnesty International has demanded the government investigate allegations that two Kurds were thrown out of a military helicopter.

The government accuses the HDP of ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and thousands of its members have been prosecuted for the same reason, including its leaders. The HDP denies such links. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and US.

The HDP politicians, including Ayhan Bilgen who is mayor of Van province, fell ill after eating food served at Ankara police headquarters.

Bilgen was not immediately taken to hospital, nor was he allowed to talk to his legal team until after HDP lawmakers had talked with government officials to have him hospitalized.

The trio are under arrest as part of a probe into violent protests that took place in Kobane in 2014. Their detention period was extended on Monday by another four days.

Amnesty International has urged the government to investigate allegations that two Kurds, aged 55 and 50, were thrown from a military helicopter in Van. The rights group voiced its concerns about the “allegations of torture and mistreatment” which it said were unacceptable under international human rights law and standards that Turkey was obliged to comply with.

The men alleged to have been thrown out of a military helicopter were arrested on Sept. 11 as part of an operation against the PKK. Both were hospitalized and had signs of heavy beatings on their bodies.

One of the men was shown to the media with a bloodied face. He is experiencing memory loss. The other man’s condition remains critical. He is suffering from brain trauma, broken ribs, a punctured lung, and has been in intensive care for more than two weeks.

Relatives of the villagers have demanded justice and the uncovering of the truth through a proper investigation.

Amnesty International wants Turkey to investigate the case impartially, and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has submitted a parliamentary question about the allegations of torture.

HDP lawmaker Ali Kenanoglu said his party would follow up the mistreatment allegations at a domestic and international level.

“Kurds have become the scapegoat of the current regime because they are considered as the easiest target that doesn’t have any strong social support behind it,” he told Arab News. “Currently all policies involving war and violence are conducted by targeting Kurds. The mistreatment regarding this segment of society has not received strong backing so far, which opens more room for such efforts.”

Once the Kurdish lawmakers were arrested they were automatically under state protection, he said. “However, state impunity still prevails when it comes to the implementation of the rights of Kurdish community.”

On Monday, HDP deputies and officials were outside the parliament building to protest against the detention of their colleagues, who are accused of inciting violence in Kobane.

Amnesty International’s Turkey campaigner, Milena Buyum, called for a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the ill-treatment of Kurdish villagers.

“Those found to be responsible should be brought to justice in a fair trial,” she told Arab News. “Turkey is bound by the UN Convention Against Torture and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, both of which it is a party to. The Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe is tasked with monitoring places of detention in member states and can ask questions regarding the cases of alleged torture and other ill-treatment. As Amnesty International, we will continue monitoring the developments in this shocking case.”

Buyum said that people in detention must be allowed access to their lawyers once they were deprived of their liberty.

“The delay in speaking to the lawyers is concerning. The HDP representatives have been able to consult their legal representatives after four days. They still don't know the substance of the allegations they face as they have not yet been questioned.”

The rights group said that there was increased concern about detention conditions because of the pandemic, and that authorities should step up their efforts to ensure the health and safety of those in custody.

Separately, a Kurdish singer said on Monday that he had been warned by security and intelligence officials against singing in his mother tongue and to stay away from HDP events.

“You will be in trouble if you sing in Kurdish again,” Cesim Basboga was reportedly told. "You’ve been provoking people with songs.”

Basboga will file a complaint.