UN: Ankara 'facilitated' recruitment of Syrian child soldiers in Libya
Damming report by the Independent mission wanted by the UN Human Rights Council. The experts analyzed the events that occurred in the conflict from 2016 to the present. Behind payment Ankara would have provided young people between 15 and 18 years old, used in the fighting and as guards. The Turkish government rejects the accusations.
Istanbul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Turkey facilitated the recruitment of children between 15 and 18 years of age" in the hostilities between Lİbya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.This is the damming charge contained in a report prepared by an independent mission in Libya wanted by the UN Human Rights Council. The document, dated Oct. 1, examines events in the African country from 2016 to the present.
Ankara has rejected all charges.
In the passage titled "Children," the study by UN experts states that Ankara "facilitated the recruitment of children between the ages of 15 and 18," to make them fight in the war between the GNA and the LNA. "
"The evidence established that from late 2019, Turkey facilitated the recruitment of Syrian children between 15 and 18 years of age (which was evident based on their appearance) to fight alongside the GNA against the LNA in exchange for payment.
"These child mercenaries were utilised for different functions, including in combat units, and some in support roles, such as guards. Many were confined if they disobeyed and some of them were wounded."
"There are reasonable grounds to believe that Libya may have failed to comply with its obligations under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which prohibits both child recruitment and the direct participation of children in hostilities, including those not part of the State's armed forces.
There is also "evidence" that Libya has failed to meet its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child "to involve children in armed conflict". Moreover, the document concludes, both Libya and Turkey "may have violated" the dictates of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (Opac and CRC) against the "recruitment and use" of children in war.
Ankara's immediate response, through a source at the Foreign Ministry relayed by BBC Turkey, rejects the accusations, calling them "completely unfounded" and "without any concrete basis. From the Turkish government comes the invitation to focus on "real war crimes" such as "mass graves and violations of human rights. The UN research mission on Libya concluded its first visit to the country in August; after its meetings with high-ranking Libyan officials in Tripoli, it published the final version of the report.