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KHRP | Kurdish Human Rights Project

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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 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.'