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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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Sixth International Conference Opens at European Parliament to Discuss the EU, Turkey and the Kurds
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 03:29

Today the Sixth International Conference on the EU, Turkey and the Kurds will begin at the European Parliament in Brussels. This year’s conference entitled, ‘Turkey and the Kurdish Conflict: Political Dialogue and Peace-building’, will be opened by Kariane Westrheim, Chair of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), which hosts the event.

Opening speeches will follow by EUTCC patron and 1995 Sakharov Prize winner, Leyla Zana, Lothar Bisky MEP, and the as yet to be confirmed, Judge Essa Moosa, of the African National Congress in South Africa. A written message is also to be read out on behalf of the former Co-Chair of the pro-Kurdish Demokratik Toplum Partisi (Democratic Society Party, DTP), Ahmet Türk, who is unable to attend the event following the recent travel ban imposed on him and his co-members in the wake of the Turkish Constitutional Court’s closure decision against the party last December.

The first session of the conference— to be chaired by EUTCC board member and KHRP Patron, Professor Michael Gunter, and KHRP Advisor on Environmental Rights, Jean Lambert MEP— is to focus on recent peace initiatives in Turkey. Contributing speakers will include the Turkish journalist, Hasan Cemal, Emine Ayna, BDP MP and former Co-President of the DTP, and MEPs Helene Flautre and Jurgen Klüte, who will respectively share their Turkish, Kurdish and European perspectives.

The conference will continue tomorrow with two further sessions on ‘EU-Turkey Accession Progress, Human Rights and Democratisation’ and on a ‘Possible Roadmap for the Kurdish Resolution and Role of the EU’. KHRP Chief Executive Kerim Yildiz is due to talk about ‘Recognition of the Conflict and Political Dialogue’ at the latter session.Established in 2004, the EUTCC aims to both promote and provide suggestions for Turkey’s bid for EU accession, and to help guarantee respect for human and minority rights and a peaceful, democratic and long-term solution to the Kurdish situation. Founding members of the EUTCC include KHRP, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, Medico International and the Thorolf Rafto Foundation for Human Rights. Copies of the Fifth EUTCC Conference Report based on last year’s event on 28 to 29 January 2009, are also now available. Free copies of the report can be downloaded from the KHRP website here. Printed copies are available for £10.00 + P&P through our online shop here.