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War is no excuse: Alyn Smith MEP demands Kurdish PYD ends child soldiers recruitment

Alyn Smith MEP is joining the campaign to have the Kurdish PYD end the use of child soldiers in Syria, organised by the European Center for Kurdish Studies.

Following detailed reports of human rights violations by the Kurdish PYD organisation in Syria, notably by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, the Scottish member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee argued that "war was no excuse" for such gross human rights violations.

After hosting a historical exhibition on crimes against humanity in Syria last year and gathering independent reporters from Aleppo, Alyn Smith MEP called on the EU to urge the Kurdish PYD to end human rights violations.

Alyn said:

"War is no excuse for the Kurdish PYD to use child soldiers in the battlefield. The EU is a values-based community and must not turn a blind eye on this, as much as I have made clear we must condemn all violations regardless of their source.

"As I said to EU High Representative Mogherini before, there will be no peace without justice in Syria and the region, that means the EU has to support the vital work of NGOs that document human rights violations on all sides, including arbitrary detention, ethnic cleansing and the unacceptable use of child soldiers by Kurdish forces."

"Syria's Kurdish PYD has been partly administering three Kurdish enclaves in the North of Syria since 2011. On top of the use of child soldiers, political opposition to the PYD or to the Assad regime has not been tolerated under its rule, with enforced disappearances and repression against dissenting voices since."

You can see Alyn's campaign on the website of the European Center for Kurdish Studies with his photo of support. Last month, Alyn held a meeting with the President of the Kurdish National Council, Mr. Ibrahim Biro.

A recent Human Rights Watch report revealed that Syria's Kurdish PYD had violated basic human rights standards that prohibit the use of children in combat operations.

Alyn's speech to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, on accountability in Syria, is here:

Alyn was the lead host of the European Parliament's Ceasar exhibition in July 2015, which documented mass-torture in Syria and is included in the new UN Report: