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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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Over the weekend of 19th and 20th June 1999, the headquarters and branches of Mazlum-Der (the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for the Oppressed in Turkey) and the homes and offices of its executive members were searched in a raid by the police. The warrant from the interior ministry had authorised the search on the basis of the alleged existence of "documents and evidences indicating that Mazlum-Der works against the Republican regime and the unity of the country".

Mazlum-Der is an independent human rights organisation focussing particularly on issues of freedom of religion and conscience. It was established in 1991 and has 15 branches and 5,000 members throughout Turkey. Since the National Security Council declared the Islamist movement in Turkey as the primary enemy, Mazlum-Der and its members have been subjected to continuous repression and harassment at the hands of the Turkish authorities. Branches in Sanliurfa in south east Turkey and in Malatya were closed down by the police in late 1998 and early 1999.

In the most recent raids, the doors of branches were broken down, books, journals and videos were seized, and members’ telephone numbers were recorded. Lawyers’ offices were searched in the absence of judicial warrants and the attendance of a prosecutor, in breach of Turkish law.

The persecution of Mazlum-Der mirrors the treatment of other human rights organisations within Turkey, including the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) whose former president, Akin Birdal, began a one year prison sentence at the beginning of June 1999 for daring to suggest a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question.

KHRP requests the international community to call Turkey to account for the recent oppression of Mazlum-Der.



The Kurdish Human Rights Project works for the promotion and protection of human rights within the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the former Soviet Union.