|KHRP Conducts Fact-Finding Mission in Kurdish Regions of Turkey|
KHRP representatives travelled to the Kurdish regions of Turkey this week to investigate the human rights situation there, with a particular focus on women’s access to justice, impunity for state agents, issues affecting the work of human rights defenders and the human rights impact of ‘high security zones’.
Beginning on 2 May, the fact-finding mission travelled to the provinces of Diyarbakır, Mardin, Siirt and Şırnak to interview local mayors, human rights activists, lawyers and journalists.
Questions of impunity and access to justice have been pushed to the fore recently by the ongoing trial in Turkey of alleged members of the ultra-nationalist ‘Ergenekon’ network, which has been linked to crimes including extra-judicial killings and bombings. Those on trial include retired military officers and politicians, and evidence that has emerged from the case has led to fresh excavations in the Kurdish regions in a search for the remains of individuals who disappeared during the conflict there. Concerns about the human rights situation in southeast Turkey has also been underlined recently by a wave of arrests of pro-Kurdish politicians and activists following local elections in March.
‘Unfortunately this latest fact-finding mission confirmed that the human rights situation in the Kurdish regions remains deeply alarming,’ said KHRP Deputy Director Rachel Bernu, who took part in the mission. ‘There are systematic obstacles to filing complaints against officials accused of abuses and women in particular face serious difficulties in accessing justice. Missions such as this serve a vital purpose in highlighting such problems and developing recommendations for how to address them.’
A full report of the mission’s findings and recommendations will be available in the coming weeks.