Skip to content

KHRP | Kurdish Human Rights Project

narrow screen resolution wide screen resolution Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color brown color green color red color blue color

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.

You are here: 
Skip to content

Charity Awards

Charity Awards

Gruber Prize


Gruber Justice Prize

2011 News
KHRP to participate in a discussion panel at Migrant Rights Network screening of 'Son of Babylon' as part of Refugee Week


On June 21st 2011, KHRP will take part in a discussion panel as part of a Refugee Week screening event for the film 'Son of Babylon', directed by Mohamad Ad Diriadji. The film tells the story of a young boy, Ahmad, and his grandmother as they travel in search of Ahmad's missing father. Set in post-invasion Iraq in 2003 the film follows the pair along dusty, battered roads from desert plains to the mountains of Kurdistan, where the travelers meet migrants caught up in the terror and destruction wrought by tyranny and war.

The panel will be chaired by former MP and active refugee campaigner Neil Gerard, and joining KHRP on the panel will be immigration lawyer Steve Symonds and Kurdish documentary film-maker Karzan Sherabayani. KHRP will bring to the panel experience of the Kurdish regions and the problems facing those living there, especially the situation of Internally Displaced Persons and refugees who have fled conflict and insecurity.

It is a pleasure for KHRP to be able to contribute to events such as the screening of 'Son of Babylon', and to be able to work with other organisations such as Migrant Rights Network. This reflects KHRP's commitment to human rights and their protection not just within the regions that we work, but internationally, standing alongside the rest of the NGO community” said Rachel Bernu, KHRP Managing Director.

The screening and discussion panel takes place from 1800-2100 on Tuesday 21st June 2011 at the BFI Southbank, London SE1 8XT.

Tickets are £6.50 and can be purchased from the BFI Website.



KHRP Welcomes Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights about Turkey’s Country Report

On 20 May 2011, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted concluding observations following its review of Turkey's initial report on the implementation of the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

In advance of this review, KHRP had raised a number of concerns about Turkey’s compliance with its obligations under the Covenant by submitting a list of issues which can be found here. KHRP also attended the Committee’s review of Turkey’s report which took place in Geneva on 3 and 4 May 2011.

In the concluding observations, the Committee noted principal subjects of concern and provided recommendations for Turkey.  KHRP welcomes, in particular, the comment that in light of the fact that Turkey “recognizes only Greeks, Jews and Armenians as minorities, the Committee expresses concern about the absence of a broad legislative framework for the recognition of all minorities…including the Kurds, the Roma and the Arameans.”  KHRP joins the Committee in urging Turkey to recognise all the minorities in its territory and to provide them the full opportunities to enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights and to adopt the necessary plans of action for this purpose.

Further areas raised by KHRP that were addressed by the Committee include:

•    concerns about the construction of the Ilisu dam, as the predominantly Kurd-inhabited areas affected will suffer a shortage of housing, forced evictions, resettlements and replacements if the project goes ahead
•    the disparities that exist between rural and urban areas, with particular focus on the eastern regions of the country where the highest levels of poverty are reported
•    the discrimination and inequality experienced by women in Turkey, and the worsening of women’s working conditions, resulting in many of them being forced to seek employment in the informal economy

KHRP Chief Executive Kerim Yildiz said “We welcome the Committee’s recommendations for a stronger collaboration between State and civil society actors around human rights promotion and protection in Turkey. To this end, it is vital that Turkey take concrete steps to implement the Committee’s recommendations effectively and, among other things, ratify the Optional Protocol to the Covenant that provides for an individual complaints mechanism.”

KHRP concerned over further arrests in Syria

Syria’s repressive approach steps up despite earlier promises.

Syria’s security apparatus has arrested around a thousand protesters since Friday in a concerted effort to crush the dissent that has gripped the Syrian state in recent weeks. Human rights defenders within Syria estimate that the death toll since protests began in March stands at over 500, although the difficulties in communicating from within the country mean that this is likely to be higher. Concern is intensifying for the safety of journalists within Syria, with those that are actually able to make it into the country at risk of arrest, violence or disappearance.

As well as the 'hard' tactics, the regime has attempted other 'soft' approaches such as lifting the long-standing emergency laws and an offer of amnesty to protesters who give themselves up before the 15th May. However, the lifting of the emergency laws has made little difference to the regime's brutal crackdown on the unrest, leading many to question whether other promises are similarly hollow.

In a country where they have historically been classed as 'foreigners', Kurdish activists have condemned the continued oppression, hoping that a conciliatory approach to the unrest will bring their ethnic group political concessions. However, in an official statement the Kurdish Yek Party stated that if the oppression continued Kurdish voices would join the fray, despite the regime’s attempt to placate them through promises of citizenship. The regime has responded harshly to such voices, raising concerns about continued human rights abuses towards the Kurds. On Saturday two Kurdish activists were arrested after calling for pro-democracy demonstrations in the north-eastern city of Qamishli, the first arrests in the Syrian Kurdish areas since unrest began in March. KHRP remains concerned about their fate, and the treatment and status of all others detained as a result of recent events.

Kerim Yildiz, of the Kurdish Human Rights Project in London said,

“We are concerned about the latest surge in the regime’s crackdown and its spread to the Kurdish areas. This latest unrest comes after decades of frustration built up by the lack of representation and by human rights abuses that have persisted for decades. All viewpoints must be permitted to be heard, including those of Kurds, and KHRP urges the international community to press Syria to listen to the legitimate demands of all of its citizens equally”.

KHRP attending the 46th session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Today, KHRP is participating in the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights review of Turkey’s report on its compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. KHRP expects that the Committee will raise concerns it highlighted in its submission to the Committee last year on Turkey’s compliance, as well as gauging Turkey's overall progress in respecting, protecting and fulfilling the Covenant rights for all its citizens.

Turkey's obligations under several of the articles in the Covenant are of particular concern to KHRP. In terms of the right to self-determination, Turkey needs to be pressed to ensure that it fulfills its obligations in this area and for its Kurdish citizens to be able to have meaningful participation in society, particularly in light of continued repression and attacks on fundamental political freedoms that should be enjoyed by all regardless of cultural background. KHRP has also raised concerns regarding education rights, noting that there remains an alarming disparity in literacy rates between Turkey's Kurdish minority and the rest of the population. Turkey's limits on expression of Kurdish culture and language are having profound effects both in respect to education and employment, and KHRP urges the Committee to appropriately address this violation of several Covenant rights during Turkey's review. Recently, KHRP has focussed extensively on the situation of children in the region and believes that Turkey must be urged to improve its respect for the Covenant rights of children immediately.

Rachel Bernu, KHRP Managing Director, said “Turkey's respect for Economic, Social and Cultural rights varies greatly, and whilst it has made some progress, the situation in the region remains unacceptable. As a party to the Covenant, Turkey should be urged to take all necessary steps to remedy the concerns raised at the Committee, as well as making a firm commitment to ensure that it fulfills its human rights obligations with respect to all of its citizens. KHRP will continue to advocate on behalf of the Kurds in this region and elsewhere, and hopes that Turkey's review will represent genuine and tangible progress in respect for human rights in the region”.

KHRP disappointed by ongoing violent repression in Syria.

KHRP is gravely concerned by the overall human rights situation within Syria, despite some positive steps made by the Syrian regime, including reinstating citizenship rights to the majority of its citizens of Kurdish origin.

KHRP condemns the ongoing violent repression of dissent, including indiscriminate shootings , arbitrary detention, and ongoing ill treatment of those in detention by the regime. Reports coming out of the country have indicated that despite the aforementioned concessions, repression and state violence have intensified over recent days. The repression also appears to be targeting those who are trying to report the situation on the ground in Syria, with reports of journalists being detained in recent days without justification.

Syria must respect its people's right to express themselves peacefully and their right to demand their universally recognised rights, rights that Syria is obligated to respect through the various international human rights treaties to which it is a party. Syria must ensure that its security forces are held accountable for their actions, and guarantee the safety of all of its citizens regardless of what beliefs they may hold.

KHRP's chief executive, Kerim Yildiz, said today: 'Responding to legitimate and peacefully expressed demands with extreme violence, intimidation and repression is unacceptable behaviour for any state to engage in. Despite showing signs of progress with the concessions and reforms announced recently, the Syrian authorities appear to still be bent on preventing the enjoyment of freedom of expression through whatever means necessary. KHRP calls on Syria to change its approach to dissent and free expression, whilst also calling on the international community to urge Syria to respect the rights of its citizens'.


KHRP Welcomes Reforms, Hopes a Sign of ‘Real Change’ to come

Kurdish Human Rights Project welcomes the recent steps taken by the Syrian government as part of a package of concessions in light of recent protests.  Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has decreed that people registered as “foreigners” in the northeastern region of Hasake, an implicit reference to the Kurds, would be granted “Syrian Arab nationality”.  This decree is an important step in the right direction, as there are currently around 300,000 Kurds who are effectively stateless due to the controversial 1962 census that arbitrarily stripped many Kurds of their citizenship.

In addition to this, the Syrian government has released forty-eight Kurds detained for the past year since the Newroz shootings of March 21, 2010. During this incident in the eastern town of Al-Raqqa, security forces opened fire on participants celebrating Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, and detained many others.  Despite the release of these individuals, the Syrian government continues to treat protests across the country as signs of sedition and has countered the protesters with arbitrary arrests and the firing of live ammunition.

KHRP Chief Executive Kerim Yildiz said today, 'We are pleased to learn of these new but long overdue developments and hope they are but the first of many to come. Granting citizenship rights to Syrians in the Kurdish region who —along with the generations who came after them— were left officially stateless without cause, is an important and key step.  Nonetheless, much more is needed before we can say that real change for the human rights landscape in Syria is happening.'


<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next > End >>

Page 3 of 5