|Earth Day 2007|
Following Earth Day 2007 last Sunday, KHRP would like to bring renewed attention to the urgency of the environmental and human rights questions in the Kurdish regions. Not only are the regions the scene of massive repression, but the regions’ environment is also falling victim to untold destruction due to the actions of state and corporate-sponsored development projects.
The Southeast Anatolia Dam Project (GAP), in particular the proposed Ilisu and Cizre dams, pose serious environmental risks to the people of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. The dam project has resulted in the displacement and dispossession of tens of thousands of people, most of whom are Kurds. Further, it poses a grave risk to water supplies and threatens to make water yet another weapon of war.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which was completed in 2006, has been roundly criticized for numerous flaws in its design. There is desperate need for increased surveillance of the line due to doubts about the suitability of its coating and resulting concerns about cracks and leakages. This comes in the wake of a recent report condemning BP for its patchy safety record following a hugely destructive oil leak in Alaska in 2006. KHRP and its partner, the Baku-Ceyhan Campaign, continue to call for these safety concerns to be explored and resolved. The welfare, livelihoods and health of all those living along the pipeline are at stake.On Earth Day it is imperative to recognize the fundamental environmental issues these two projects have brought to their respective regions, and their impact on the rights of the regions’ inhabitants. To mark Earth Day, KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz stated “The GAP project violates equitable access to water rights and affects millions of people across south-east Turkey, Iraq and Syria, while the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline poses severe safety risks to the inhabitants of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. This is not simply an environmental or ecological question, but a question of fundamental human rights. KHRP calls on the Turkish government, BP and the projects’ funders to put an immediate halt to their plans, which pose grave risks to the welfare of the regions’ inhabitants”.