|KHRP Returns from Successful Trainings and Fact-Finding Mission|
KHRP representatives have travelled to Turkey and Iraq over the past ten days to conduct a number of successful training sessions for government officials, human rights defenders and civil society activists, and to investigate the situation of prisoners’ rights.
On 14 December a training was held in Sulemanya focusing on international human rights standards in relation to torture. Organised in conjunction with the Civil Development Organisation and conducted by prominent British criminal law barrister and KHRP board member Michael Ivers, it was attended by some 35 people from a wide range of local organisations.Further trainings in Erbil on 16 and 17 December on human rights issues relating to investment agreements attracted around 70 attendees. They included representatives of the Kurdistan Regional Government ministries of trade, water, tourism, agriculture, finance, reconstruction and human rights, as well as human rights organisations, trade unions and other civil society groups. The sessions were conducted by Nick Hildyard, Director of The Corner House, Greg Muttitt, Co-Director of Platform, and Rachel Bernu, KHRP’s Deputy Director.
On 20 December KHRP Legal Team member Nicholas Stewart QC and the Diyarbakır Bar Association conducted a training in Diyarbakır in south-east Turkey on protection from torture and ill-treatment, which was attended by around 35 lawyers and civil society members.
In the days leading up to the Diyarbakır training, Nicholas Stewart QC and Walter Jayawardene carried out a fact-finding mission to investigate the situation of prisoners’ rights in Turkey and the rights of family members to access their loved ones in detention. This included interviews with civil society representatives and relatives of prisoners, both in the Kurdish regions and in the west of the country. The mission members were unable to speak with state officials, despite requesting meetings.
'Regional trainings are a key component of KHRP’s efforts to bolster independent capacity for human rights enforcement in the Kurdish regions, while fact-finding missions offer an important sense of international solidarity to the victims of human rights abuses and send a clear message to perpetrators that their actions cannot be brushed under the carpet,’ said KHRP Deputy Director Rachel Bernu. ‘KHRP looks forward to many more successful activities of this kind as we enter 2009.’