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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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KHRP Concerned by Hunger Strike Over Detention Conditions in Turkish Jail
KHRP today expressed concern about a hunger strike by inmates at the Erzurum H-type Prison in Turkey, in protest at the conditions of their detention and their treatment by prison staff.

KHRP’s partner organisation İnsan Haklari Derneği (Human Rights Association, İHD) reports that the prisoners began their protest on 23 February and that, with the strike ongoing more than a month later, they stand at risk of developing permanent health problems. They are seeking to highlight abuses including threats and ill-treatment by prison officials, lack of access to legal aid, a prohibition on use of Kurdish in communications with family members, restrictions on access to publications in languages other than Turkish, and a lack of opportunities to mix with prisoners other than their cell-mates.

A KHRP mission which travelled to Turkey to investigate the situation of human rights in the country’s detention system in December heard consistent reports of such problems. Other central concerns included overcrowding, arbitrary punishment of prisoners without adequate recourse to appeal, and the high proportion of inmates awaiting still trial. The mission, whose report will be published in the coming weeks, observed that the overarching obstacle to the development of adequate human rights standards in Turkish prisons is a lack of proper accountability and independent oversight.

‘These kinds of ongoing violations of the human rights of detainees and their families in Turkey are a matter of deep concern to KHRP,’ said Executive Director Kerim Yıldız. ‘There is a clear need for the authorities to take concrete steps to increase transparency within the system, including engaging far more closely and openly with civil society, and establishing effective, independent national preventative mechanisms.’