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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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2005 Publications
2005 Publications from KHRP

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A joint fact-finding mission to Turkey conducted by KHRP and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) investigated the rights of certain groups fundamental to the protection of civil and political rights. The report details the protection currently afforded to journalists, writers, artists and human rights defenders, particularly since the introduction of wide-ranging pro-EU reforms recently enacted in Turkey. The mission finds that despite legislative reforms to encourage freedom of expression and freedom of association many lawyers, journalists and political activists continue to experience harassment by the state. The mission concludes that the Turkish government must commit to genuine press freedom and freedom of expression and further calls upon the EU to take on a more active role in emphasising the importance of genuine implementation of these rights.

ISBN: 1900175908

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £10.00 (+ P&P)
Freedom of Expression and of Association in Turkey - Camille Overson Hensler and Mark Muller

As the continuing prosecutions of journalists, publishers, human rights defenders, novelists and artists continue, it is clear that there remain concerns over freedom of expression and freedom of association in Turkey. In spite of measures taken to improve prospects of EU accession, there is disquieting evidence that violations of freedom of expression and of association have in fact been increasing over the past few months. This report provides a background to the situation of Kurds in Turkey and of the government's international obligations. It evaluates the efficacy of a range of pro-EU reforms passed, and concludes that much remains to be done before Turkey could be set to meet European standards on civil and political rights.

ISBN: 1900175940

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £10.00 (+ P&P)
International Conference on Turkey, the Kurds and the EU: European Parliament, Brussels, 22-23 November 2004 - Conference Papers

KHRP hosted a historic conference with its partner organisations in November 2004 on "The EU, Turkey and the Kurds", convened in part in response to the European Commission's failure to address the situation of the Kurds. The conference called for the establishment of a standing Civic Commission on Turkish EU accession. As a result, KHRP, Medico International, Rafto Foundation and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) set up the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) to monitor Turkey's EU accession. This publication gathers together all the papers presented at the first conference.

ISBN: 1900175878

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £10.00 (+ P&P)

A joint fact-finding mission to Turkey's south-east conducted by KHRP, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and the EU-Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) investigated the current restrictions on linguistic rights enjoyed by minorities in Turkey and the efficacy of pro-EU reforms. The mission found that demand for Kurdish language education remains high. The mission concluded that lifting restrictions on education and broadcasting in Kurdish would be a giant step towards a multicultural, pluralist and ultimately peaceful Turkey.

ISBN: 1900175932

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £10.00 (+ P&P)
The Status of Internally Displaced Kurds in Turkey and Compensation Rights: Fact Finding Mission Report

A fact-finding mission to Turkey's south-east conducted by KHRP, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and the EU-Turkey Civic Commission investigated the current status of the region's internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their rights to compensation. In conducting its research, the mission interviewed IDPs living in slums in Diyarkakir, local and national NGO representatives, and representatives of political parties concerned with the law. The mission found that the capacity of Turkey's "Law on Compensation for Damage Arising from Terror and Combating Terror" (Law No. 5233) to bring about justice was dramatically reduced by the law's prohibitive provisions. It concludes that Law No. 5233 is failing to dramatically improve the situation of IDPs in Turkey, and to protect their basic human rights. The report urges the Turkish Government to seriously reconsider its policy towards IDPs.

ISBN 1 900175916

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £10.00 (+ P&P)

This new training manual, published jointly by Kurdish Human Rights Project (KHRP) and Kurdish Women's Project (KWP), seeks to provide advice to women in the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the diaspora on enforcing their rights and freedoms.

The manual complements the 'Charter for the Rights and Freedoms of Women in the Kurdish Regions and Diaspora', published in 2004. The Charter represents a collective effort urge the elimination of all forms of discrimination against Kurdish women and to promote the participation of women in policy and decision-making at all levels. This manual offers comprehensive guidance about the application of the Charter at a grassroots level. It also aims to articulate the experiences of Kurdish women in their attempts to implement the Charter in their daily lives.

Importantly, the manual continues by providing a general overview of the enforcement mechanisms available both to women's organisations and to women generally who wish to enforce the principles enshrined in the Charter. In so doing, it focuses on UN and Council of Europe bodies most relevant to women and violations of international law committed against them. Overall, the manual is intended to make the experience of using the Charter a more accessible and constructive process.

ISBN 1 900175 83 5

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £ 10.00 (+ P&P)

Researched and written by PLATFORM Research

KHRP has endorsed a report by PLATFORM Research which investigates the role of British overseas development aid in facilitating oil development. The report, published by PLATFORM Research, Friends of the Earth and Plan B, concludes that the UK Department for International Development (DFID) is strongly supporting oil extraction in the developing world to the detriment of the world's poor. In particular, development aid is used to reform developing countries' oil taxation and regulation regimes to better favour British business interests. This is despite DFID's explicitly stated goals to eliminate poverty in the developing world through sustainable development. Oil extraction tends to generate suffering among a country's poor, whose energy needs are better met through small-scale, renewable energy sources, and instead serves the energy needs of the developed world.

KHRP has played a key role in drawing attention to the adverse impacts of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline on affected communities in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, and in opposing DFID's support for multi-lateral financing of the project.

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £ 10.00 (+ P&P)

This report provides the findings of a trial observation mission to Turkey to observe the trials of two prominent intellectuals. The first, writer and publisher Ragip Zarakolu, is currently facing prosecution for 'inciting hatred on the grounds of social class, race, religion, sect or region' for an article he wrote expressing the right of Kurdish people to self-determination. The second concerns the renowned writer Fikret Baskaya, charged with publishing two articles alleged to 'insult the Republic or. the judicial organs, military or security institutions'. Both have previously served terms of imprisonment for part articles they have written or published.

The report highlights elements of the proceedings against the writers which potentially breach international fair trial standards. It also examines the obstacles faced by writers, journalists, authors, publishers and artists in Turkey when trying to exercise their right to freedom of expression. The mission concludes that these obstacles are continuing, in spite of the pro-EU reforms recently enacted into domestic legislature.


Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £ 10.00 (+ P&P)

This report presents the findings of a two-year research analysis into the impact of Syria's development policies on the most disadvantaged groups including women, minorities and internally displaced persons (IDPs), complemented by a fact-finding mission to the Kurdish regions of northeastern Syria in February 2005. It investigates the daily lives of the most vulnerable groups living in the Euphrates Basin and finds many of the development policies implemented by the Syrian government have had discriminatory effects. Thousands of Kurds, for example, were displaced by development of the Attawra dam and the removal of their citizenship rights, the effects of which continue to be felt to this day. The report demonstrates that women, especially in rural areas and those that are Kurds, face discriminatory hardships in the areas of citizenship, poverty and labour.

ISBN 1 900175886 Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £10.00 (+ P&P)
Human Rights Violations Against Kurds in Turkey: Report Presented to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Kurdish Human Rights Project sent a fact finding mission to the Kurdish region of Turkey in December 2004 to investigate extra-judicial killings in Hakkari and Kiziltepe and to gauge human rights reform in the region.

The report of the mission details the killings of Ahmet and Ugur Kaymaz by plainclothes policemen. Witnesses express grave doubts over the two official explanations put forward for the killings: firstly that Ahmet and Ugur were shot in a clash and secondly that they did not listen to calls to stop. In a separate potential instance of an extra-judicial killing, the report investigates the shooting of 19 year old shepherd Fevzi Can at close range by the military. There is no evidence to support the military's assertion that Can was a live stock smuggler, and concerns are raised that the Public Prosecutor has not conducted a satisfactory investigation of the incident.

The broader context of EU-inspired human rights reform in Turkey is also considered. The mission, having interviewed representatives of local human rights groups, concludes that in relation to the general treatment of Kurdish people Turkey has a long way to go before it meets the Copenhagen Criteria. Particular concerns focus on an increase in the use of psychological torture which counteracts the decrease in physical torture, unofficial detention of Kurds suspected of 'terrorist' links, failure to implement compensation schemes for IDPs, continuation of the village guard system and high levels of abuses against women. The authors recommend that Turkey's reforms must be assessed on the basis of implementation as well as formal, legislative changes, and that Turkey's accession to the EU must be founded on an accurate appraisal of Turkey's fulfilment of the relevant criteria rather than upon external political considerations.

ISBN 1 900175 827

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £10.00 (+ P&P)

Fundamental flaws in plans for the proposed Ilisu dam in Turkey provoked international attention from 2000 to 2002. Following an exemplary international campaign, the consortium of companies planning to build the dams collapsed, safeguarding the ancient sites of archaeological significance in the area as well as the welfare of up to 78,000 people, mostly Kurds, who stood to be displaced by the project.

Almost three years on, a joint fact-finding mission by KHRP and the National University of Ireland, Galway, provides new evidence that the Turkish state has not learned the lessons of Ilisu. The mission gathered evidence of a new consortium of companies coming together to build the discredited dam and others. The basis for the projects remains essentially the same, and there is no evidence that affected communities have been consulted. Of those consulted by the mission, the overwhelming response was one of absolute opposition to the dams.

The report details the damage that would be caused to architecture and heritage, and highlights the impact of the dams on cultural rights. Numerous international and EU standards have not been met. Public consultation has not taken place; even were it to occur, it must be viewed in the context of the ongoing marginalisation of Kurds in Turkey.

Three years on, it is clear that international attention should once more be drawn to this issue.

ISBN 1900175851

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £ 6.00 (+ P&P)

This report presents the findings of a joint mission by KHRP and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales to observe the trial of three security officers for an alleged extra-judicial killing and the torture or ill-treatment of a key witness.

Siyar Perinçek was the son of a member of the Insan Haklari Dernegi (Human Rights Association) board of directors. IHD is the largest human rights organisation in Turkey and a partner organisation of KHRP. Siyar was on a motorbike opposite the Adana branch of IHD on 28 May 2004. According to witnesses, he fell to the ground when approached by security officers whereupon an officer shot him in the back. He died later at hospital. A key witness Nurettin Basçi was arrested and is currently on remand in Adana Kurkculer F-type prison, where he alleges being subjected to torture or ill-treatment.

The trial of three security officers took place on 21 December 2004. The case has not yet reached judgment. The mission expressed concern over failures to comply with domestic legislation as well as a breach of several international legal standards. Among other breaches, the delegation noted the lack of co-operation from authorities on issues including the disappearance of key evidence; the non-attendance of the officers on trial; and the failure to provide a fair and impartial hearing for the complainants. One judge was observed to sleep through most of the hearing.

Interviewees expressed concern over continuing violations of the prohibition of torture or ill-treatment, and the implications of this on Turkey's EU accession. Appended to the report is a presentation given by KHRP, 'CoE's Committee of Ministers supervises Turkey's execution of ECHR judgements', presented at its European Parliament conference in Brussels in November 2004.

ISBN 1 900175819

Copies of this report are available from the KHRP for £ 10.00 (+ P&P)