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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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2011 News
KHRP condemns Turkish bombardment of Northern Iraq


KHRP is concerned by the continuing aerial bombardment of the Khandil and Zap regions of Northern Iraq by the Turkish military that began last week for the first time in over a year. Coupled with mortar fire from Iran, these actions have reportedly resulted in the loss of civilian life.

Whilst this violation of Iraqi sovereignty, and the death and destruction which accompanies it, is to be condemned in its own right, these actions also exacerbate already difficult humanitarian and human rights challenges in the region including displacement and environmental degradation. KHRP is currently representing over 80 villagers from Northern Iraq as a result of Turkish bombardments.  It has previously reported on the creation of thousands of displaced persons within Northern Iraq as a direct result of the bombardments.

KHRP’s Managing Director Rachel Bernu stated today, ‘The escalation in armed activity in the Kurdish regions of Turkey and Iraq is of serious concern and should end immediately in order to protect civilians who have lived with and through far too many armed battles, resulting in losses of life and livelihoods.  The government of Turkey has stated that it is well aware that the solution to the conflict is not going to be found through heightened militarisation, so it is hard to understand the purpose of these actions, except through the lens of internal politicking’.


KHRP publishes briefing paper entitled 'Turkey and EU Accession: Key Human Rights Concerns'

KHRP today publishes a briefing paper entitled 'Turkey and EU Accession: Key Human Rights concerns'.

This Briefing Paper sets out the key areas that Turkey must address if it is to meet the political limb of the Copenhagen Criteria.  It serves as an update to the June 2006 KHRP briefing paper entitled ‘Implementation Gaps in Turkey’s Domestic Law’.

To download the briefing paper, please click here.




KHRP concerned by ongoing unrest in Syria, reports of intimidation and torture

KHRP is alarmed by the ongoing acts of repression and aggression by the Syrian government against peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders alike.  The situation in Syria has deteriorated since the announcement of the decree to restore citizenship to those whose rights were stripped of them in the 1962 census. Mass arrests and arbitrary detention are reportedly widespread alongside reports of the use of torture by the security services in places such as schools and other public buildings, as well as extra-judicial killing of people both in and out of custody.

Whilst KHRP welcomed President Bashar al-Assad's initial overtures to the concerns of the people of Syria, the total lack of progress in the realisation of these changes is shocking and disheartening. Empty promises and hollow rhetoric will not bring about a solution to the crisis in Syria. KHRP reiterates its call for Syria to respect the human rights of all of its citizens and abide by its international obligations. KHRP will continue to follow the situation in Syria closely,  working to ensure that those responsible for violations are held accountable

KHRP Managing Director Rachel Bernu said: “The situation in Syria remains unacceptable and the brutal response of the regime to expressions of dissent must be condemned. A peaceful resolution to these upheavals will only be found through genuine dialogue and the implementation of policies and practices consistent with internationally respected human rights standards.  KHRP believes that respect for freedom of expression and assembly on the part of the Syrian regime is long overdue and calls for all in the international community to make this clear.’


KHRP Publishes Briefing Paper on Mother-Tongue Education in the Kurdish Regions

KHRP today publishes a briefing paper entitled Culture and Language Rights – Mother-Tongue Education in the Kurdish Regions.  The paper concludes that mother-tongue education, which in itself may be regarded as a fundamental right under international law, is not adequately recognised, protected or promoted in the Kurdish regions, serving as a barrier to conflict resolution in that area.  The paper provides a comparative legal and practical overview of the use of mother-tongue education in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey today and makes some key recommendations for governments, civil society organisations and the international community on how to resolve the outstanding issues.

The use of mother-tongue languages is an essential means for minority groups to express their cultural identity.  The enjoyment of this right in schools and universities, both as the language of instruction and as an academic discipline, is vital to protect and promote this aim.

KHRP’s Managing Director, Rachel Bernu said,

“The recommendations in this briefing paper highlight practical and practicable ways to resolve a bedrock human rights issue that has a direct impact on the development and stability of the Kurdish regions.  We hope that on its reading, policy makers and influencers will consider the relatively simple steps offered as a pathway to change.’'

Click here to download the full paper.

KHRP Wins Prestigious Gruber Prize for Justice.

The U.S.-based Gruber Foundation's International Justice Prize has been awarded to the Kurdish Human Rights Project.  As one of five recipients this year who have challenged the world's more common forms of intolerance, KHRP is being recognised for our work in protecting the liberty and human rights of all people in the Kurdish regions, with our belief that justice should be available for all reflected in the Gruber Foundation's awarding of the prize to recipients who pursue justice as a universal concept.

In particular, KHRP is being recognised for its use of a variety legal instruments in protecting human rights and seeking redress for violations, including bringing cases on behalf of hundreds of applicants at the European Court of Human Rights and its on the ground field missions. The prize award notes the importance of KHRP’s consistent presence over the last 19 years as well as the notable reforms and successes on a wide range of issues, from preventing conflict over water in Turkey, Iraq and Syria to receiving a landmark judgment in the European Court toward the abolition of capital punishment.

Kerim Yildiz, KHRP's Chief Executive, said: “KHRP is honored to receive such recognition from the Foundation, and especially to find itself in the company of such accomplished human rights defenders globally. Our work over the last 19 years continues to evolve with the ever-changing landscape in the Kurdish regions and receiving this award not only helps us grow with the times, but also, and more importantly, gives hard-earned recognition to all our partners and survivors of abuses. They continue to make grand strides for justice and this award is for their bravery, intellect, passion and progress”.

The award ceremony will take place at National Constitution Centre, Philadelphia, PA on October 6th 2011.

The website of the Gruber Foundation’s International Justice Prize can be found here.

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