Skip to content

KHRP | Kurdish Human Rights Project

narrow screen resolution wide screen resolution Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color brown color green color red color blue color

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.

You are here: 
Skip to content

Charity Awards

Charity Awards

Gruber Prize


Gruber Justice Prize

Campaigners warn UK government of human rights threats over BP's Caspian oil project


For immediate release
18 March 2003

Campaigners warn UK government of human rights threats over BP's
Caspian oil project

Campaigners have today informed government ministers about
intimidation and threats made to people who raise concerns about the
Baku T'bilisi Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline project.

Members of the Baku Ceyhan Campaign, including Friends of the Earth
and the Kurdish Human Rights Project, have written to Clare Short,
Sceretary of State for International Development, and Baroness Symons,
Minister for International Trade and Investment, urging them to refuse UK
backing for the controversial project.(1)

The campaigners are concerned about recent threats made by a senior
figure in the Azeri government. On February 24, 2003 Ilham Aliyev - First
Vice-President of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic and
son of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev - made a
statement on national TV threatening opponents of the project.

Campaigners say is statement is not an isolated one. There is continuous
pressure on people who have expressed views that are not in line with the
official position of the government or the State Oil Company. Campaigners
claim to have received information about people whose families have been
persecuted, and about NGOs that have begun to be monitored by the
Ministry of Internal Affairs in relation to statements they have made about
the BTC oil pipeline.

In another disturbing incident, campaigners point out that a leading lawyer
faces trial in Turkey for his comments on the environmental impact
assessment for the Ilisu dam project. In July 2001, the UK's Export Credits
Guarantee Department published the environmental impact assessment
report (EIAR) for the Ilisu dam and hydroelectric power project. In order to
inform its decision whether to fund the project, the ECGD requested public
comment on the EIAR. The Ilisu Dam Campaign responded by organising
a formal submission from a number of experts, including a leading lawyer
from Turkey. Mr Mahmut Vefa, General Secretary of the Diyarbakir Bar
Association, states in his submission that the Ilisu Dam, if built, would deny
local people their property rights and exacerbate the problems of
resettlement for the thousands of people who have been displaced by the
Turkish authorities' practice of "village destructions" over the last decade.
Mr Vefa then reproduced this submission in an article in the Diyarbakir Bar
Association Journal, published in January 2002. For this article, Mr Vefa
now faces trial, accused of "overtly insulting the moral integrity of the
Government and the military and security forces". The trial will be held in
Diyarbakir on 18th March 2003.
Kerim Yildiz, Director of the Baku Ceyhan Campaign and of the Kurdish
Human Rights Project says,
"In such a climate, where commenting on the environmental studies for a
major infrastructure project results in prosecution for a crime against the
state, we believe that free and fair consultation on the Baku T'bilisi Ceyhan
pipeline cannot take place. The climate, both in Turkey and Azerbaijan,
undermines the International Finance Corporation's proposed consultation
for the project. We would therefore urge the UK government to ensure that
no public monies are made available for this project at the present time."

For more information please contact:
Kate Geary, Baku Ceyhan Campaign 01865 200550 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Rochelle Harris, Kurdish Human Rights Project 0207 2872772
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Notes for Editors
(1) The UK government is considering whether to provide backing for the
$3.3 billion pipeline, to be built by a consortium headed by BP, across
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. BP is seeking backing from export credit
agencies, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and
the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, to which the UK
government makes contributions. Campaigners say the pipeline threatens
human rights, could increase conflict in the region, and will cause grave
environmental damage.