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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 Celebrates its Litigation Success before the European Court

Fifty years have passed since the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) was founded in 1959 and today marks 49 years since it filed its first ruling in the case of Lawless v. Ireland on 14 November 1960.

The ECtHR was and remains one of the most effective mechanisms for human rights protection in the world.  Since KHRP was established in 1992, few organisations have utilised the Strasbourg mechanisms with such success.

KHRP is considered ‘the pioneer’ in bringing individual complaints against Turkey.  In 1996 the Strasbourg mechanisms gave their first binding consideration to KHRP’s Kurdish cases. They established, for the first time, the Turkish authorities' responsibility for rape, torture and ill-treatment, and for deliberately destroying and evacuating Kurdish villages.

Since then, KHRP has provided legal assistance to over 500 victims of human rights abuse. Its cases have established legal precedents on the death penalty, disappearances and extra-judicial killings to censorship, unfair trials and the rights of citizens to fair and free elections. Its cases also continue to exceed the often high burdens of proof placed by the Court on victims.  KHRP continues to not only achieve a high rate of admissibility in its complaints against Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but has achieved a remarkable success rate by ensuring that the Court delivers a favourable ruling in 92% of these cases.

In Meltex v Armenia, KHRP once again succeeded in pushing the boundaries of the ECtHR after Armenia was found in breach of protecting the right to free expression following its repeated denial of broadcasting licenses to Armenia’s first independent television company A1+ .  As described by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, this ruling proved ‘a lesson to all governments inclined to arbitrary interpretations of Article 10’. 

KHRP’s current cases continue to seek legal precedents, as can be seen in its complaints on behalf of more than 80 Iraqi civilians affected by Turkey’s indiscriminate bombings of villages in Northern Iraq.  These cases push the Court to consider its own jurisdiction and could have important consequences for any cross-border military action. 

‘The ECtHR rulings in case after case brought by KHRP have not only brought reparation to countless victims of human rights abuses in the Kurdish regions but have had far reaching consequences for the judicial and political systems of the respondent governments and for the international rule of law,’ said KHRP Chief Executive, Kerim Yildiz. ‘Today, as abuses of human rights take place not only within but across neighbouring borders in the Kurdish regions, this work is more critical than ever.’