After three years of dialogue with Geneva Call, the People’s Defense Centre/People’s Defense Forces (HPG), also known as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), has signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment for the Protection of Children from the Effects of Armed Conflict. The commitment was made on 5th October by female commander Delal Amed, on behalf of the People’s Defense Centre/HPG.
By signing this Deed of Commitment, the People’s Defense Centre/HPG is publically formalizing its policy to prevent children under 18 from taking part in hostilities and to protect them from the effects of the conflict. HPG has entered a reservation in accordance with the Deed of Commitment: a new non-combatant category of the HPG will be created and children between 16 and 18 will only be allowed to join this category.
“We will make all efforts to ensure that all 16-18 year olds are separated and kept away from combat zones. We are also ready to cooperate with Geneva Call and provide access to these young persons” said Delal Amed. “We sign the Deed of Commitment for the cause of children and because it is our conviction” added Baroz Erdal, member of the delegation. “The next HPG conference will adopt this new status and we will take all measures to secure compliance with this commitment.”
“Today we are pleased to receive this pledge, which is the result of a constructive dialogue” said Elisabeth Decrey Warner, President of Geneva Call. We will now cooperate towards its implementation, which will benefit the approximately 300-400 children directly concerned, according to the People’s Defense Centre/HPG. We commend their pledge and are confident that this will serve as an example for other armed non-State actors, notably in Syria. We also hope that it will make a positive contribution to the ongoing talks between the Turkish State and Abdullah Öcalan of the PKK movement.”
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