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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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The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and the Kurdish Human Rights Project (KHRP) are gravely concerned about the attacks by Turkish security forces on at least 20 prisons around Turkey starting on 19th December, so far resulting in at least 17 deaths and many injuries. The assaults came on the 61st day of hunger strikes staged by prisoners across the country protesting at the increased use of "F-type" isolation cells and violation of human rights within the prisons.

In addition, members of human rights organisations, other community groups as well as relatives and supporters of the hunger strikers have been detained. Offices of human rights organisations - already regularly subjected to intimidation and harassment in Turkey - have been raided or closed down.

The EMHRN and the KHRP regards the recent developments with utmost concern since it runs counter to Turkey's commitments in regard to international human rights standards as well as to the Barcelona Declaration. It is even more regrettable in the light of the adoption of the Turkey's Pre-accession agreement with the EU on December 4.

Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director of KHRP and board member of the EMHRN, said "this appalling incident is totally outside the bounds of what is acceptable behaviour and demonstrates more than ever the need for the EU to set clear benchmarks regarding human rights for Turkey in the accession process."

The European Court of Human Rights in a series of judgments has condemned Turkey for killings, disappearances and torture committed by its security forces. The Court and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture have repeatedly criticised Turkey for failure to investigate allegations of unlawful killing and torture and failure to tackle impunity. Last year the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers called on Turkey to take steps to guarantee that its security forces will, in all circumstances, respect human rights.

We call upon the Turkish Government to immediately stop its security forces from using excessive force which are resulting in killings, torture and ill-treatment.

  • Once the operation has been stopped, we call upon the Turkish Government to carry out a thorough investigation into all violations of human rights committed during the operation

  • Bring to justice those responsible
  • Ensure effective reparation for the victims and their families

  • Release those arbitrarily detained

We call upon the EU to put pressure on Turkey to :

  • Respects its commitment to the human rights principles embodied in the Barcelona Declaration of November 1995, to the European Convention on Human Rights and other Council of Europe human rights instruments

  • Ensure that Turkey abides by the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN on 9 December 1998


1. The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network is regional network of about 60 human rights organisations and activists in the Euro-Mediterranean region working for the promotion and protection of human rights within the framework of the Barcelona Declaration and international human rights instruments.

2. The Kurdish Human Rights Project is a London based human rights organisation working for the protection of human rights of people in the Kurdish regions including Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Former Soviet Union

3. The Barcelona Declaration was adopted in November 1997 by the 15 EU members and 12 South Mediterranean countries, including Turkey. It aims at turning the Euro-Mediterranean region into an area of shared 'peace, stability and prosperity' built on respect for human rights.