|KHRP Calls for State Discrimination against Minorities to Stop|
Today, on International Human Rights Day, KHRP calls on the historic discrimination committed against minorities in the Kurdish regions to stop. It also asks that the international community act by urging the governments responsible to recognise the existence of its Kurdish ethnic and other minorities, and for Turkey and Syria, to guarantee Kurdish political and cultural rights in their constitutions.
Just last month, KHRP also submitted a stakeholder report outlining discriminatory practices towards minorities and restrictions of their cultural and language rights in Turkey, to the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) working group. Despite the government’s proposals to develop a more pluralist and libertarian constitution as announced as part of its ‘Democratic Initiative’ early last month, the first three articles— which have effectively underpinned the systematic disregard of the linguistic and cultural rights of the country’s estimated 20 million Kurds (around 23 per cent of the total population) and other minority groups— are to remain sacrosanct. By maintaining existing provisions concerning the national anthem, the official language and the indivisible nature of the Turkish state, any newly conceived of constitution will maintain the much criticised and extremely narrow official definition of minorities, which fails to recognise other ethnic groups.
‘Through our consistent use of a variety of human rights tools, we have persevered in bringing discrimination against Kurds and non-Kurds living in the Kurdish regions to the fore’, said Chief Executive, Kerim Yildiz. ‘With the help of the international community, these governments must be encouraged to take measures to fully recognise the fundamental rights of their ethnic, religious or other minorities. They must also bring their national legislation in line with their obligations under international law and protect the rights to free speech and cultural and linguistic integrity within their borders.’