"Children are deprived of their basic right to life"

In Northern Kurdistan, children are repeatedly killed by armored cars driving at high speed through residential neighborhoods. Child rights activist Meltem Akboğa believes that these are neither isolated incidents nor accidents.

Seven-year-old Mihraç Miroğlu was hit and fatally injured by an armored car while riding his bicycle in Idil, Şırnak province on September 3. The driver of the police armored car was taken into custody for a short time and has returned to duty.

The governor of Şırnak, Ali Hamza Pehlivan, stated after the fatal incident that the armored car was traveling at a reasonable speed. The father of the killed boy, Salih Miroğlu, then told the MA news agency, "If the vehicle had been driving slowly, my child would not have been thrown eleven meters."

According to the Amed branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD), the seven-year-old's death is neither an isolated incident nor an accident. According to the report, 42 people died between 2008 and 2021 because they were hit by a police or military armored car. Twenty of the fatalities were children.

Meltem Akboğa of the IHD-Istanbul Children's Rights Commission sees these deaths as a result of the "policy of impunity." The human rights activist told ANF, "The fact that the deadly incidents involving armored vehicles that have been taking place for more than a decade are mainly in Kurdish provinces is an indication that they are not accidents. Since the curfews declared in 2015, these incidents have become more frequent. They are the result of negligence and a policy of impunity. Children's rights to life and safety are violated by allowing military and police officers who are not proficient in these vehicles to drive them. Children are run over while playing on the street or on their way to school, and some have even been killed in their homes while watching a cartoon or sleeping. As local residents also confirm, armored vehicles ostensibly for public safety drive through residential neighborhoods in the Kurdish region at high speed at all hours of the day. No measures are taken to prevent deaths."

Akboğa stresses that children are denied the basic right to life and safety. She said that parents have complained quite a few times that residential areas where children play are driven through at high speed by armored cars. "Nothing has been achieved through these complaints. We demand that measures finally be taken so that incidents like Mihraç's death do not happen again. Ensuring the safety of children is a fundamental task of the security forces," said the IHD employee.

Meltem Akboğa points out that security forces are encouraged to engage in negligent or intentional misconduct because the drivers involved in fatal incidents are not sanctioned, "According to the information we have from the region, none of the perpetrators has been convicted yet. Even the policeman who hit Mihraç has been released. This policy of impunity and disregard for the fundamental right to life and safety ensures that more deaths occur on an ongoing basis."