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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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KHRP Submission on Turkey to CESCR Pre-Sessional Working Group
Thursday, 29 April 2010 16:01

KHRP today submitted a report outlining a list of issues that it believes warrant urgent consideration by the Pre-Sessional Working Group to the 44th Session of the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). These are in respect of Turkey’s continued failure to sufficiently meet its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The report is based on KHRP’s own findings and observations through its human rights work across the Kurdish regions. Contrary to Turkey’s initial report to CESCR in June 2008, it cites KHRP’s extensive research and legal casework to demonstrate significant areas where the Turkish government has failed to uphold the rights of its Kurdish citizenry with respect to their ICESCR. These include their rights to self-determination, to live free from discrimination, to have gender equality, to exercise trade union rights, to protect their families, to have adequate standards of living, to protect their physical and mental well-being, to access education, and to freely express their cultural rights.

Among other issues raised, were the rights of Kurdish people to be able to meaningfully participate in and contribute to policy and decision-making processes in the country. KHRP also requests that the Committee challenge Turkey’s exclusion of Kurds from their definition of ‘minority’ groups. Turkish official policy continues to centre on the 1923 Lausanne Treaty definition of non-Muslim minorities, which fails to give recognition to Kurds — Turkey’s most significant minority population — within the Turkish legal framework. KHRP also draws attention to the significantly higher 40 per cent illiteracy rate among Kurdish women; double that of their Turkish counterparts. KHRP contends that by subjecting children to the same laws as adults, and in particular in relation to anti-terrorism legislation, Turkey is failing to properly protect children’s rights. Lastly, although the Turkish Government claims to have a strong policy on the preservation of cultural heritage this is applied in a discriminatory manner, given for instance, the continued prohibition of the additional letters of ‘Q, W, X’ in the Kurdish alphabet and the yet to be reversed widespread Turkification of Kurdish place and street names in the country’s south-east region.

’While there has been some progress in terms of improving Kurdish cultural rights in Turkey, this remains woefully inadequate,’ said KHRP Chief Executive Kerim Yildiz. ‘We request that Turkey be asked by the Committee about the measures it is taking constitutionally, legislatively and in terms of resources, to ensure the effective implementation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights among Kurds, which can help to address the substantive inequality and systematic discrimination they continue to face.’

KHRP’s submission to the CESCR on Turkey is available to download here.