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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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The European Commission of Human Rights (ECHR) has released two reports on applications, finding Turkey in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights in both cases. The Commission has referred both of these cases to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The first of these cases, Azize MENTES and others v. Turkey (23186/94), involves the allegations on the part of the four women hta Turkish soldiers burned their homes on 25 June 1993. The women were form Riz in Genc District of Bingol Province; when their hopmes were destroyed, they moved toDiyarbakir with their families. The Commission stated in its report that it found generally the oral testimony of the applicants "more consistent, more credible and more convincing" than that of the witness for the Turkish government. With regard to the destruction of their homes, the Commission found that the Turkish government had violated Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which assures the right torespect for family life. The Commission also cited Turkey as being in violation of Article 3, which protects from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. The report cites "delibetate destruction (of the houses) in utter disregard of the safety and welfare of the applicants and their children who were left without shelter and assistance, and finds Turkey in violation of Article 3. In considering the question of violation of Article 6.1 and Article 13, which call for effective domestic remedies, the Commission found that Turkey's decision not topursue the cases of these women in the domestic legal system "fundamentally flawed". (Four women made the application; one did not testify at the hearings and the Commission found with no further information, it did not have the basis to reach a conclusion that rights were violated.)

The second application, Sukran AYDIN v. Turkey (23178/94), involves the applcant's allegations of rape while incustody. Ms. Aydin is a resident of Derik, Mardin and was born in 1976. On 29 June 1993, Turkish authorities forced her and members of her family from their home, and subsequently took them to Derik Gendarme Station. There, they were beaten, placed in tyres and spun about, and sprayed with high pressure cold water. Later, a man wearing a Turkish military uniform raped Ms. Aydin in front of her sister-in law. The commission found the Turkish government in violaition of Article 3, citing that it considered her treatment while in custody to be so severe as to be torture. The Commission cites the "incompatibilty (of rape) with the fundamental notions of human dignity and human freedom". Rape, it says "must be characterised as particularly cruel and involving acute physical and psychological suffering", which is "aggravated when committed by a person in authority over the victim". The Commission further found the Turkish governmetn had violated Article 6.1, the right to fair hearigns by the judicial system, when it failed to lpursue her case. Importantly, the Commission also found that Turkey had intimidated the applcants, violating Article 25.1, the right of individual petition to theCommission when rights are violated. The Commission cited instances of harassment of Ms. Aydin and her family in its findings. It noted that the Turkish government did not deny having called her father, but called their explanations of those meetings "unconvincing, even spurious". It concluded that the Turkish government's actions toward the Aydin family represented "significant pressure....which threaten(ed) to impinge on their continued participation in the proceedings before the Commission".

The European Court of Human Rights will now schedule hearings on the two cases, which will be held in Strasbourg. The Court heard two KHRP cases at the end of April: one of these cases involved torture while in detention and the second involved the destruction of a village. All of these cases underline continuing human rights problems in Turkey. Cases involving village destruction highlight the problem of the forced eviction of an estimated three million people from south-east Turkey. Torture cases brign to the forefront the problem of systemtic torture in Turkey.

Individual applicants are assisted in taking grievances to Strasbourg by KHRP and the Human Rights Association of Trueky. These cases are part of a series of cases which have been pursued in order to promote accountability and the rule of law in Turkey. To date, 54 KHRP cases have been declared admissible by theEuropean Commission. Over 400 individuals have been helped with cases before the ECHR by the project.

To help in the effort to promote accountability and the rule of law in Turkey, KHRP urges you to raise the issue of these amd the continuing violations of human rights in relevant meetings and with relevant governments, international organisations and intergovernmental organisations.