Protecting civilians in armed conflict
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Iran: a Kurdish armed movement takes official commitments to reinforce the protection of civilian

28th June 2015 | Iran - Child protection - Gender issues - Humanitarian norms - Landmine ban

PAK

The Kurdistan Freedom Party (Parti Azadi Kurdistan, PAK) from Iran, has signed Geneva Call’s three Deeds of Commitment banning AP mines, prohibiting sexual violence and against gender discrimination, and protecting children in armed conflict. This took place on 28 June 2015 in the Kurdish region of Iraq. The PAK was represented by its Vice President, Hussein Yazdanpana.

The PAK was created in 1991 to fight for Kurdish self-determination in Iran. Several hundred PAK fighters are currently directly involved in the hostilities against ISIS in Iraqi Kurdistan alongside Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

“The PAK is not reported to be using landmines, to recruit children under 18 or to commit acts of sexual violence. However, in a region where other armed forces are regularly reported to perpetrate these kinds of crimes, signing these commitments has a preventive effect and shows that parties to the conflict have the responsibility to protect civilian populations,” added Eric Ouannes, Geneva Call’s Head of Operations.

Hussein Yazdanpana said, “We are very proud to sign the Deeds of Geneva Call. The core of the Deeds exists in our traditions, even if it is not written. We are fighting for humanity, and even though it is very difficult to implement international law in these conditions, we try to commit to humanitarian norms as much as possible to protect the civilian population, which is severely suffering from the armed conflict in the region. By signing these Deeds we hope to raise awareness of humanitarian norms, even among our enemies here in Iraq.”

Geneva Call will train PAK leadership and combatants on the obligations contained in the Deeds of Commitment and will monitor their implementation.