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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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2003 Publications
2003 Publications from KHRP

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Turkey's Shame: Sexual Violence Without Redress - the Plight of Kurdish Women - Trial Observation Report

This report gives the findings of a trial observation mission in November 2002 which observed the trials of 410 state officials for the rape of Kurdish women.

The magnitude of the problem of sexual violence against Kurdish women is widely unappreciated as even most recent statistics concerning incidents of sexual violence are only indicative of number of women affected. Many of the victims of sexual torture dare not speak of their experiences, because of the dishonour associated with rape and sexual violation in traditional communities.

KHRP's report is based on the findings of a November 2003 delegation to Mardin in Southeast Turkey to observe the trials of state officials for the rape and sexual torture of Kurdish women.

The first trial observed concerns the case of Sukran Esen, a Kurdish woman who was sexually tortured during three detentions which took place during 1993 and 1994. During these detentions Ms Esen was stripped, subjected to falaka, electric shocks, placed in a car tyre and rolled around, blindfolded and repeatedly raped by several men. All of those indicted for the crime worked at paramilitary police stations; 64 were senior officers. [2]

The second trial concerned the sexual torture and rape of another Kurdish woman on 5 March 2002 by five members of the Anti-Terror branch of the Mardin police. The victim HHamidiye Aslan, a Kurdish mother was detained for 48 hours in the police station where she was blindfolded, subjected to pressurised cold water, verbally abused and anally raped with sticks.

In addition, the KHRP delegation also conducted interviews with various State officials, NGOs and women victims of torture. During one such interview with by the Assistant Case Prosecutor in Mardin, the Delegation was told that Kurdish women had "ample opportunity" to use the existing domestic remedies in Turkey. "Every problem, however small, can be brought to a court in Turkey. She should not be afraid as the alleged perpetrator is a State official."

In its report, 'Turkey's shame: sexual violence without redress - the plight of Kurdish women,' KHRP condemns the continuation of state violence against Kurdish women and the lack of redress available to them. The report makes recommendations to the Turkish government and the international community about protecting women from sexual violence and ensuring that state actors may not act with impunity.

This trial observation report, published jointly by KHRP, BHRC and the Corner House, concerns the trial of human rights defender and lawyer Mahmut Vefa, former General Secretary and current board member of the Diyarbakir Bar Association.

An international fact-finding mission, comprising representatives of human rights and environmental groups, visited Turkey in March 2003 to investigate the likely effects of BP's proposed new pipeline. The pipeline, if built, would carry up to a million barrels of oil a day from the Caspian Sea through Georgia to Ceyhan on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. UK oil giant BP leads the project, and is seeking around $2.5 billion in public subsidy from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank and export credit agencies such as the UK's ECGD. This report provides the findings of the international delegation. It documents the pervasive atmosphere of repression in the Kurdish region of North-eastern Turkey, through which the pipeline would pass. The report argues that the evident lack of free speech precludes criticism of the pipeline project, effectively rendering invalid BP's efforts at consultation. The delegation was itself detained twice by the Turkish military police, the Gendarmerie. A number of planned visits to villages affected by the pipeline had to be abandoned by the delegation, for fear of exposing residents to potential human rights abuses by state security agents. The report concludes that the pipeline not only breaches international standards but also threatens human rights abuses. BP's resettlement proposals even appear to breach Turkish law. There are widespread problems with compensation and a generalised failure to take account of the impact of the project on disadvantaged groups like women and ethnic minorities. The report is especially critical of the choice of the Gendarmerie as the lead force for pipeline security. The Gendarmerie was heavily implicated in the worst human rights abuses inflicted on Kurdish civilians in Turkey in recent decades; and has been repeatedly criticised by the European Court of Human Rights in KHRP cases. This report has been published jointly in conjunction with the Corner House, PLATFORM and Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale.

(ISBN Number: 1 900 175 59 2)

In the Wake of the Lifting of State of Emergency Rule - Report of a Fact-Finding Mission to Southeast Turkey

In November 2002, the Turkish Parliament voted to lift the state of emergency legislation (OHAL). From 1987 onwards, state of emergency legislation had governed the majority of provinces in the Kurdish regions of Southeast Turkey.