시리아 쿠르드족 신년 ‘나우로우즈(Nawrouz)’ 기념 행사에서 경찰의 실탄 공격으로 14세 소년 1명이 사망하고, 수십 명이 부상을 당하는 사고가 발생했다.
사건은 지난 29일 시리아 알 라카(Ar Raqqah) 북동쪽에서 ‘나우로우즈’를 기념하기 위해 쿠르드족 5천 여명이 모인 가운데 발생했다.
‘나우로우즈’는 시리아에 사는 쿠르드 소수 민족이 기리는 큰 명절의 하나로, 통상 쿠르드 정당이 집회를 열어 모국어로 연설하고 노래하는 평화적인 행사다.
이번 모임은 민주연합당(Democratic Union Party, PYD)이 조직한 것으로, 이 정당은 시리아 당국의 인정을 받지 못한 쿠르드족 소수 정당이다.
충돌은 행사 참가자들이 쿠르드 노동당 지도자의 사진과 민주연합당 깃발을 드는 것을 경찰이 저지하는 과정에서 발생했다. 경찰은 최루탄과 물 대포를 사용했고, 시위대 일부가 돌을 던지자 실탄을 발포했다.
경찰의 발포로14세 소년 모하마드 하이더 아이벤 오마르(Mohammed Haider Iben ‘Omar)가 사망했다. 오마르의 시신은 사건 발생 이틀이 지나서야 가족들에게 전달됐다. 부상자 수십 명은 친인척과의 접촉이 금지된 상태에서 경찰 당국의 삼엄한 보안 속에 병원에 있다.
국제앰네스티는 경찰의 폭력사용에 대한 즉각적이고 독립적인 조사를 시리아 정부에 요청했다. 더불어 본 사건과 관계된 모든 부상자 혹은 구금자들이 가족을 만날 수 있게 하고, 그들에게 필요한 모든 의료조치와 변호인의 도움을 제공하라고 요구했다.
Boy killed and dozens of injured detained after Kurds clash with security forces in Syria
Friday 26 March 2010 Police opened fire with live ammunition in the city of Ar Raqqah, as an estimated 5,000 people gathered to celebrate the Kurdish New Year.
Amnesty International has urged the Syrian authorities to investigate the killing of a 14-year-old boy and the wounding of dozens of other people, after security officials opened fire on a Kurdish New Year celebration on 21 March.
The organization has received reports that many of those injured in clashes with law enforcement officials, are being held under tight security in hospital and are being denied access to their relatives.
The incident happened in the north-eastern city of Ar Raqqah on Sunday, as an estimated 5,000 Syrian Kurds gathered to celebrate Nawrouz, the Kurdish New Year.
The gathering was organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish minority political party unrecognized by the Syrian authorities.
Violence broke out when law enforcement officials objected to people holding up PYD flags and pictures of ‘Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey (PKK), who is imprisoned in Turkey.
Police used tear gas and pumped water at the crowds then opened fire with live ammunition when some of the demonstrators threw stones at them.
Fourteen-year-old Mohammed Haider Iben ‘Omar, was killed. Syrian-Kurdish human rights organizations claim that he may have died due to excessive use of force.
On Tuesday, Political Security officers delivered his body to his family and supervised the burial. It is reported that the family was not permitted to hold a funeral.
Many of those injured during the clashes were taken to Ar Raqqah National Hospital, which has since been surrounded and placed under guard by the security forces.
To date, only two of the injured have been permitted to receive visits from their families, prompting concern that the rest may be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
The Syrian authorities have not commented on the events in Ar Raqqah and no investigation is known to have been opened into allegations that law enforcement officials used excessive force.
Amnesty International urged the Syrian authorities to conduct an immediate independent investigation into the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials and whether this constituted excessive use of force in breach of recognized international standards.
The organization said that any officials responsible for using excessive force should be held to account.
It also urged the authorities to allow all those injured or detained in connection with the 21 March events to have immediate access to their families, to legal counsel of their choice and to any medical care that they require.
The Kurds comprise up to 10 per cent of the population of Syria and live mostly around the city of Aleppo in the north of the country and the al-Jazeera region in the north-east.
These predominantly Kurdish areas lag behind the rest of the country in terms of social and economic development. Syrian Kurds are subject to identity-based discrimination, including restrictions on the use of their language in schools and the expression of their culture, such as bans on producing and circulating Kurdish music.
Nawrouz is one of the main events celebrated by members of the Kurdish minority in Syria, and Kurdish political parties usually hold public gatherings to deliver speeches and sing songs in the Kurdish language.