Peaceful demonstrators shot dead by security forces Germany should revoke its extradition treaty with Syria

Against the background of extreme violence employed by Syrian security forces against peaceful demonstrators, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) urgently calls on the German government to discontinue any deportations to Syria, effective immediately. “The Syrian regime is showing its true colors, gunning down unarmed citizens. That is why Germany must revoke the extradition treaty signed with Syria in 2009,” said STP founder Tilman Zülch on Tuesday in Göttingen.

For days now tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating in the city of Daraa, some 100 kilometers south of Damascus, as well as in other cities, calling for an end to the 48-year state of emergency. Security forces are using firearms in their attacks on demonstrators. According to human rights activists, at least five people were killed and 44 wounded in Daraa on Friday alone. Throughout the country at least 100 people have been arrested in the past ten days.

Although the Foreign Office and numerous German courts have declared that massive human rights abuses are routinely perpetrated in Syria, there are some 7000 Syrians in Germany, most of them Kurds (Muslims and Yazidi), Syrian dissidents and Christian Assyro-Aramaeans, who live under the constant threat of deportation. According to information obtained by the STP, 73 Syrian citizens were deported between 24 November 2009 and 29 June 2010. “North Rhine-Westphalia holds the sad record, with 36 deportations, followed at a distance by Lower Saxony with 13, Berlin with 6, Baden-Württemberg with 5 and Bavaria with 4 deportations. Three people were deported to Syria from Saxony, two from Hesse and one person each from Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Saxony-Anhalt.

The STP was against the German-Syrian extradition treaty from the beginning, because not only political dissidents but also the more than two million Kurds in Syria – among them some 4,000 members of the Yazidi faith – suffer from discrimination and repression. The Kurds are denied their rights, including rights to their own language and culture. There are roughly two million Kurds living in three regions that border on Turkey. Although they make up the majorities there, some 200,000 had their Syrian citizenship revoked as part of an Arabization policy in 1962. According to a number of estimates, there are currently several hundred Kurdish political prisoners in Syrian jails, where torture and abuse are daily occurrences. The STP is in possession of a list of names of 590 political prisoners currently being held in the “Syrian Arab Republic.”

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Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker / Society for Threatened Peoples
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