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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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European Parliament Passes Resolution on Turkey Progress Report
KHRP today welcomed a resolution passed by the European Parliament in response to the European Commission’s recent report on the progress made by Turkey towards EU accession in 2008.

The resolution, passed on 12 March, underlined the Commission’s finding that the Turkish government has failed to reverse what has been a continuous slowdown of the reform programme since its inauguration in 2005. The Parliament therefore urged the development of cross-party consensus on an active reform process based on respect for human rights and the rule of law, including welcoming political parties, ethnic and religious minorities and civil society entities in the drafting of a new constitution.

Regarding specific human rights issues, the Parliament noted that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are still not sufficiently protected, and specifically called for the repeal of the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which criminalises criticism of the state. Other matters of concern to the Parliament include the growing number of cases of torture and ill-treatment, with such abuses largely left unprosecuted.

The resolution also underlines that the continuing violence and hostility shown towards minorities in Turkey is intolerable. In particular, it calls for a concerted effort to improve the cultural rights of Kurdish citizens.

Welcoming the resolution, KHRP Deputy Director Rachel Bernu said, ‘KHRP supports Turkish accession to the EU, as long as this process includes comprehensive reforms to ensure that the systemic failures underlying existing patterns of human rights violations are addressed. Although the Parliament’s resolution emphasises many of the problems highlighted by the Commission, we reiterate our disappointment that other areas of concern were not adequately covered by the Progress Report - including, for example, the human rights implications of cross-border bombardments by the Turkish military.’

KHRP’s own detailed response to the Commission’s 2008 Progress Report, which was published in November last year, can be downloaded from our website here.