|KHRP Meets with Lawyers on Forced Displacement of Civilians at Ilisu Dam Site|
From 28-30 September KHRP sent Legal Officer Catriona Vine to meet with numerous lawyers and campaigners regarding the forced displacement around the Ilisu Dam site. Scheduled for construction on the River Tigris, some 65 kilometres from the Syrian border by Germany's largest civil engineering company, Siemens, the dam as planned would flood an area the size of Manchester, submerging or partially submerging some 183 villages and hamlets and the ancient town of Hasankeyf, a site of international archaeological significance and displacing an estimated 78,000 people who are mainly Kurds.
The people of Hasankeyf, an anciet city whose history stretches back over 10,000 years, the surrounding area and their support in Europe won an important victory in 2002 when a major campaign forced British company Balfour Beatty and other European companies to withdraw from the project. Despite this success expropriation of land in Ilisu and Karabayir villages has started. Ms. Vine met Diren Özkan and Gamzey Yalcin of Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive to discuss the legal challenges being made to the construction of the dam. She also met with lawyers who represent villagers whose land has been expropriated. KHRP was concerned to learn that the compensation that has been offered to these people, who have lived off the land for centuries and who ill be forced to relocate once the dam is built, is wholly inadequate and for the most part significantly less than the amounts proposed by court-appointed independent experts.