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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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2006 Publications
2006 Publications

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The Turkish government continues to deny the extent of the human rights violations and genocide committed against Kurds and Armenians in Turkey during the twentieth century. The renowned Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk referred to this in a media interview in Switzerland in February 2005. His comments attracted the attention of a Turkish prosecutor, who brought an indictment against Pamuk for ‘publicly insulting Turkish national identity’ under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. The prosecution became a flashpoint of concern over Turkey’s protection of freedom of expression, and a litmus test for its suitability for accession to the EU.

KHRP and the BHRC sent a mission to observe his trial and to interview others facing similar charges. Charges against Pamuk were subsequently dropped, but the question remains: why was the prosecution originally brought? And what will happen/ has happened to other lesser-known writers, editors, publishers and journalists facing similar prosecutions in Turkey?

ISBN 1900175967

Available for £10.00 by contacting or by downloading below

KHRP recently returned from Turkey where it gathered evidence on the situation and status of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Turkey. The mission was carried out by KHRP Legal Officer, Lucy Claridge and Legal Team member, barrister Catriona Vine to investigate state policy and practise regarding measures to provide redress to persons displaced during the armed conflict in east and south-east Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s. The mission discovered severe failings in the legislative mechanisms designed to deal fairly with IDPs and their claims for compensation. Without essential reforms to ameliorate the legal provisions available to displaced persons, this already marginalised group may never receive a just solution to their plight.

Publication available for 10 GBP from or +44 (0) 207 405 3835, ISBN 1 905592 05 1 or by downloading below:

Aiming to provide a guide to taking human rights complaints to UN mechanisms, this manual provides an update to KHRP's 2003 edition of Taking Human Rights Complaints to UN Mechanisms. The UN aims to achieve the promotion and encouragement of respect for human rights through three categories of human rights bodies: the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, those established by the UN Charter (Charter-based bodies) and those established by provisions in specific legal instruments (treaty-based bodies). Written by Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director, and Lucy Claridge, Legal Officer, the manual provides an overview of the different mechanisms and guides to their use. In addition, the manual also includes updated versions of key texts, such as texts of the reservations and declarations entered into by member states in the Kurdish regions, model complaint forms and guidelines for the submission of complaints.

Publication available for 10 GBP from or +44 (0) 207 405 3835, or by downloading below:
Intended to inform practitioners and interested individuals on the practical usage of the Strasbourg mechanisms, KHRP has published an update to its manual, Taking Cases to the European Court of Human Rights. Written by Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director, and Lucy Claridge, Legal Officer, the manual provides commentaries on the practice and procedure of the European Court, in addition to key texts such as the European Convention, the Court's application form and details of the legal aid available from the Court. It also now includes updated sections on admissibility rules, just satisfaction claims and enforcing judgments, together with information regarding the changes to be introduced by Protocol 14.

The manual has been distributed to human rights lawyers and individuals at KHRP's training sessions in Turkey and the Caucasus in order to aid them in utilising the European Court of Human Rights to improve respect for human rights on the ground. Updates in Turkish and Russian languages will be available shortly.

Publication available for 10 GBP from or +44 (0) 207 405 3835, or by downloading below:

On 24 March 2006, fourteen Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas were killed in the mountains outside Diyarbakır by the Turkish army. Thousands of people attended the funerals. Although they passed peacefully, some funeral goers threw stones and rocks when passing a police station. The police responded with tear gas, water cannons, batons and firearms, apparently indiscriminately. The security thereafter deteriorated and Special Forces were deployed. Violence rapidly spread to other Kurdish cities; many were killed, including children, and hundreds more were injured. Three people were killed when a bomb was thrown at a bus in Istanbul in protest at the violence in the south-east. Hundreds of people were detained, many of them illegally, including many children, facing a real risk of torture or inhuman treatment.

KHRP mission members, Michael Ivers and Brenda Campbell, visited the region between 19 and 24 April in order to monitor and document the situation on the ground. They spoke with witnesses of the violence and local human rights organisations. This report documents the mission’s findings.

Publication available for 10 GBP from or +44 (0) 207 405 3835 – ISBN 1905592027, or by downloading below:

Entry to the European Union is predicated on the state achieving the political elements of the Copenhagen Criteria. Turkey 's domestic law, in its pre-accession state, fell short of these requirements and of its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. In order to meet the criteria, the Turkish Government began in 2001, a program of legislative reforms designed to harmonize its domestic legislation with the Copenhagen Criteria and set out her progress to Accession.

At the heart of these reforms was a major overhaul of the Turkish Constitution, accompanied by seven packages of legislative reforms amending a number of pieces of legislation including major redrafts of the Turkish Civil and Penal code. These amendments were intended to liberalise the Turkish legal system, advance fundamental rights and freedoms and end years of states restrictions in a number of key areas such as torture and the freedom of expression; to address the security situation in the Southeast of Turkey and to promote the ideals of democracy and the rule of law.

KHRP believes that Turkey 's membership of the EU offers the only real and stable viable option for resolution of the Kurdish question. However, it is essential to closely monitor Turkey 's progress on both legislative reform and its practical implementation.

Since the opening of official EU Accession negotiations in October 2005, KHRP is concerned that a sense of complacency has pervaded the Turkish government's attitude towards full implementation of the reforms. This concern seems to be echoed at the European level. The European Parliament's draft report on Turkey 's progress towards accession released in June 2006 has criticised the pace of change in Turkey , deploring the limited progress on fundamental rights and freedoms, and has stated that there is an urgent need to implement the legislation already in force.

This briefing paper lays out a number of key areas that Turkey must still address if it is to meet with its international human rights obligations. Without pressure from the international community on Turkey to keep the promises it has made, the harmonization packages could become nothing more than Turkey paying ‘lip service to EU bureaucrats', and the human rights situation in the country will remain fundamentally unchanged.

Publication available for free from or +44 (0) 207 405 3835, or by downloading below.
Human Rights Defenders in Turkey Human Rights Defenders in TurkeyTooltip 02/03/2007 Hits: 23558
Turkey has a vibrant and dynamic human rights movement which has defied the odds to form an effective force for bringing the Turkish government to account for breaches of human rights. It is of crucial importance to Turkey's democratisation effort that Turkey acknowledges the validity of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) activities and respects their rights. HRDs not only play a valuable role to the process of democratic renewal, but provide a gauge of a government's true commitment to genuine democratisation.

Because of their tendency to expose and criticise state actions violating human rights and to seek to impose government accountability, HRDs frequently themselves become primary targets of repressive state practices in breach of human rights. HRDs' messages are silenced; they are denied access to victims of human rights abuses, and frequently face arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment and even ‘disappearance'.

KHRP has been instrumental in documenting abuses committed against HRDs, through pressing for improvements in their treatment and using international mechanisms to achieve justice for HRDs whose rights have been violated. This report is the result of research carried out by KHRP in London and representatives in Turkey. The aim of this report is to contribute to analysis and debate on the reform process as part of the EU accession by examining how far is progressing in the direction of European standards in its treatment of HRDs.

Publication available for 10 GBP from or +44 (0) 207 405 3835 – ISBN 19001750991, or by downloading below.
Report Presented to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2-13 October 2006, Warsaw, Poland

KHRP continues to make submissions to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and actively participates in the OSCE Human Dimension Mechanisms in order to stress its concern that some member states, in particular Turkey but also including Armenia and Azerbaijan , are not fulfilling their OSCE obligations and adhering to internationally accepted human rights standards.

Since the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Turkey has not recognised the existence of a separate Kurdish ethnic community within its borders. Over 20 million Kurds presently live in Turkey , who for decades have been subjected to economic disadvantage and human rights violations which bear the hallmarks of systematic persecution intent on destroying Kurdish identity. Over the past year, Turkey has made some gains in the quest for equality for the Kurds, but much work remains. Several high-profile trials have put Turkey 's reluctance to embrace certain freedoms in the international spotlight.

In its goal to join the EU, Turkey has enacted reforms that it says were designed to liberalise and open its political system. However, during the last year as Turkey has slid into its old habits of torture, repression, the denial of freedom of expression and association and discrimination against Kurdish people, concerns have been raised that Turkey's reforms were merely superficial and designed to give the appearance of change, without any substantive alterations to either the political system or the everyday lives of Kurds living in the country.

This report focuses on the extent to which Turkey has fulfilled the commitments it has entered into as an OSCE state with regard to topics such as national minorities, the rule of law, the prevention of torture and IDPs. It also makes recommendations for enhancing Turkey 's compliance in the future and suggestions as to where OSCE initiatives may be used to provide support and assistance to achieve such objectives.

KHRP encourages the member states of the OSCE to give their most urgent consideration to the situation faced by Kurds in Turkey and to assist the Turkish Government to end these human rights violations.

Available for free by contacting or by downloading below

In April 2006, KHRP Legal Team member, Ajanta Kaza, travelled to Turkey to observe the trial of two of three men accused involvement in the bombing of a bookshop in the town of Semdinli in the province of Hakkari.

The incident sent shock waves throughout Turkey and internationally because the three individuals accused of planting the explosive devices – together with incriminating material – were apprehended by a crowd of civilians at the scene. Two of the men were non-commissioned army officers, raising the spectre of ‘deep state' involvement in the attacks. The report expresses concern that no investigation was conducted of higher level official involvement and at the high degree of political involvement in the Semdinli incident by the government, state officials and senior military personnel.

Available for £10.00 by contacting or by downloading below

A fact-finding mission to Van and Ankara, Turkey, in July 2006 organised by the Kurdish Human Rights Project investigated state policy and practise regarding measures to provide redress to persons displaced during the 1980's and 1990's armed conflict in East and Southeast Turkey, and the treatment of refugees and internally displaced persons in Turkey. In conducting its research, the mission established serious shortcomings in the legal framework in place to address the problems faced by these two marginalised groups. If Turkey is to institute the necessary mechanisms to remedy the situation of IDPs and refugees, the mission recommends a series of reforms which conform with international standards.

Available for free by contacting or by downloading below
Turkey has signed numerous treaties agreeing not to subject its population to torture or ill-treatment and to actively prevent it occurring. The Constitution of Turkey forbids it. Yet despite these commitments the practice of torture and ill-treatment persists.

Whilst the legal reforms of the last few years have been positive, torture in Turkey remains serious and systematic. Potentially retrogressive steps in Turkey's reform process require immediate attention, and further effort is needed to bring about widespread and effective change on the ground. ‘Zero tolerance' must correspond to 100 per cent accountability, and if Turkey is serious about ending torture, it must ensure that potential victims are protected and perpetrators are answerable to the courts.

Available for free by contacting or by downloading below
This publication, presented at the 2nd annual EUTCC conference on Turkey , the Kurds and the EU in September 2005, discusses the background to Turkey 's accession to the EU. It evaluates the likely impact of EU membership on the democratisation process within Turkey and its likely benefits for human rights and fundamental freedoms and for Turkey 's Kurdish population. The publication goes on to assess the reforms that have been enacted thus far as part of the accession process, particularly the amendments that have been made to the Turkish Penal Code. Whilst acknowledging that great strides have been made, it ultimately concludes that a lot of work remains to be done on the part of the Turkish administration if the accession process is to fulfil the promise that it has engendered.

ISBN 19001750991

Available for £10.00 by contacting or by downloading below
Turkey is committed under international law to secure the right to freedom of expression and has instituted numerous reforms in this area in relation to the EU accession process. Yet despite the abundance of new legislation, there remain serious concerns that the law continues to emphasise the protection of the state at the expense of the individual. In recent months the widespread apprehension has proved to be well founded. Publishers, journalists, and satirists continue to be prosecuted and convicted for non-violent expression.

If Turkey is to adequately protect the right to freedom of expression, additional reforms are needed to bring legislation in line with international standards. Furthermore, legal reform must be accompanied with a fundamental shift in the attitudes of the Turkish authorities.

Available for free by contacting or by downloading below
Briefing Paper: Torture in Turkey Briefing Paper: Torture in TurkeyTooltip 02/03/2007 Hits: 21292
Turkey’s efforts to align its legislation and policy with EU standards have been positive, yet implementation on the ground has been uneven. An area of particular concern is the continuing practice of torture or ill-treatment. Perpetrators are usually law enforcement officials, gendarmerie and security forces and in recent years there has been a marked increase in more sophisticated torture methods that do not leave visible marks and ill-treatment outside of places of detention.

This report addresses the issue of torture and ill-treatment of individuals in detention and police custody in Turkey, and the most effective means of prevention.

Available for free by contacting or by downloading below
KHRP sent a trial observation mission to Turkey in February 2006 to observe the trails of Professor Baskin Oran and Professor Ibrahim Özden Kaboglu, members of the Human Rights Advisory Board of the Prime Ministry. These two individuals were charged under articles 301 and 216 of the revised Turkish Penal Code, following the release of a report which argued that "Turk" is an identity of only one ethnic group and that Turkey also includes other ethnic groups such as "Kurds" or "Arabs", a statement considered to be sufficient "denigration" of the state to warrant criminal proceedings. The report concludes that despite the amendments that have been enacted, the Turkish Penal Code continues to exert a "chilling effect" on free expression in Turkey.

ISBN 1900175975

Available for £10.00 by contacting or by downloading below
On 21 November 2004 Ahmet Kaymaz, 31, and his son Ugur, 12, were killed by undercover police officers some 40 to 50 metres from their home in Kiziltepe, south-east Turkey. Proceedings were opened against four police officers on 27 December 2004, accusing them of using excessive force. This report comprises the findings of a joint trial observation mission by KHRP and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales of the third hearing in the trial which took place in Esikehir on 24 October 2005. The mission concluded there are grave concerns over the lack of effective criminal accountability for extra-judicial killings in south-east Turkey.

ISBN 1900175959

Available for £10.00 by contacting or by downloading below

The Kurdish community in the United Kingdom provides a rich fabric of cultural expression and talent from which the rest of society can benefit. A number of significant Kurdish cultural projects have been located in the UK, and Kurds have received a degree of acceptance in mainstream culture. This briefing paper highlights measures that could support such intergration, including the need for accurate ethnic monitoring, the encourage of Kurdish language education by education institutions and by parents, by according political rights to refugees, and by developing relationships between the Kurdish community and bodies such as the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights. The paper was presented at a Council of Europe Hearing on Kurdish Culture in January 2006.

This report presents the findings of an international fact-finding mission to Georgia to investigate the impacts of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project. The mission, comprising representatives of several human rights and environmental organisations, visited towns and villages in the Tetritskaro, Borjomi and Akhaltsikhe districts, holding interviews with villagers and others affected by the project. It returned to several villages visited during earlier missions to examine developments and progress on problems encountered previously. The report highlights multiple concerns with the pipeline scheme, including expropriation of land, failure to implement acceptable environmental standards, lack of consultation, uncompensated ancillary damage, labour violations and unacceptable use of untested materials during construction.

This report constitutes the findings of an international fact-finding mission that conducted interviews in towns and villages in the Ardahan region, north-east Turkey , in September 2005 to investigate the impacts of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline project. The mission, comprising representatives of several human rights and environmental organisations, documents concerns raised by people affected by the pipeline, experts, pipeline workers, NGOs and the project's own monitoring reports. These matters relate to human rights abuses, expropriation of land, damage to land and property, lack of compensation, discrimination in community investment programmes, labour violations and repression of freedom of speech against people who have criticised the project.

KHRP Impact Report 2005 KHRP Impact Report 2005Tooltip 02/03/2007 Hits: 20760
The Impact Report presents a unique insight into the work of the non-governmental organisation Kurdish Human Rights Project during the course of one-year, and consequently into the Kurdish regions. Founded in London in 1992, KHRP is the only human rights organisation working consistently in the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Caucasus that is completely independent of political affiliation. Founded in London in 1992, it works to enhance the rights of both Kurds and non-Kurds.

This report assesses the impact of the organisation in 2005 – including the outcomes of its litigation, advocacy, training, trial observations, fact-finding missions, research and public awareness initiatives. It details developments on a range of key human rights themes, including issues of political and judicial systems; detention, torture and ill-treatment; discrimination; environmental justice; extra-territorial human rights obligations; freedom of expression; gender equality; internal displacement and expropriation; refugees, asylum seekers and migrants; and the right to life.

The KHRP Impact Report should be viewed as the primary resource for those interested in developments in the human rights situation in the Kurdish regions in 2005.
KHRP Employment Application Form KHRP Employment Application FormTooltip 01/02/2006 Hits: 21131
KHRP Employment Application Form and Equal Opportunities Policy
Voluntary Application Form Voluntary Application FormTooltip 01/01/2006 Hits: 23786
Voluntary Application Form and Equal Opportunities Policy