More than 100 civilians reportedly burnt to death in Cizre, Turkey

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urges an independent investigation on the reported massacre carried out by Turkish security forces in the city of Cizre.

More than 100 civilians have reportedly been burnt to death in the city of Cizre in southeastern Turkey at the hands of the country’s armed forces. The chief of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Zeid Raad al-Hussein, has called for an independent investigation.

The UN describes the actions as “extremely alarming”

Zeid said he received information showing “extremely alarming” actions carried out by Turkey’s security forces during the curfew in place from mid-December 2015 to mid-March 2016, according to Swiss news agency ATS.


Turchia esercito
Turkish soldiers in the city of Cizre following the siege ©ILYAS AKENGIN/AFP/Getty Images


The Secretary of the OHCHR also said he has received reports of unarmed civilians being deliberately shot by snipers or from military vehicles in the course of security operations in the area. Other reports show destruction and house seizures occurring, as well as torture and abuses.

Torture, abuses and mass executions

Zeid said accusations are “extremely serious”. For this reason, he has urged to shed light on the facts. However, Turkey hasn’t provided a response to the United Nations’ official request to visit the region.


Turchia scontri
Clashes in the city of Diyarbakir, on 2 March 2016 ©ILYAS AKENGIN/AFP/Getty Images


“While Turkey has a duty to protect its population from acts of violence, it is essential that the authorities respect human rights at all times while undertaking security or counter-terrorism operations,” Zeid said. Moreover, no information was provided about other areas, including Silopi, Nusayabin and Diyarbakir, where Ankara’s security forces have intervened over the past few weeks. Zeid defined the lack of information as “both extraordinary and deeply worrying”.


Turchia proteste Cizre
Protests against the Turkish government in New York ©Pacific Press/Corbis via Getty Images


Zeid urged an investigation in February after he saw a video showing the execution of a group of unarmed civilians in Cizre. Moreover, Kurdish activists and the opposition hold the government responsible for killing 300 people in a massacre. The government has denied any responsibility.


Featured image: The city of Cizre, Turkey ©Ilyas Akengin/Afp/Getty Images

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