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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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BP's new pipeline launched amid protests

Report finds new breaches as Caspian oil begins to flow

Aggrieved villagers in Georgia will shut down construction work today [12 October 2005] as BP officially launches the Georgia section of its newest project, the controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. The villagers are drawing attention to damage caused to their property and livelihoods during construction. Despite BP promises of fair engagement, most villagers have yet to receive compensation.

Simultaneously, environmentalists and human rights groups will demonstrate outside the London offices of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) [1]. The Bank approved a $300 million loan of public money for the project despite widespread concern regarding its environmental and social impacts. British taxpayers funded the project via the EBRD, the World Bank and the Export Credit Guarantee Dept (ECGD).

A preliminary report on a recent NGO Fact Finding Mission to Georgia (and Turkey ) is also being published today [2]. The mission was conducted by local and international human rights and environmental groups including the Kurdish Human Rights Project (UK), Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), The Corner House (UK), PLATFORM (UK), CEE Bankwatch Network (Europe), Urgewald (Germany), Green Alternative (Georgia), Centre for Civic Initiatives (Azerbaijan) and the Committee for the Protection of Oil Workers' Rights (Azerbaijan).

The observers found a number of problems related to the BTC pipeline in Georgia , including:

  • BTC-related human rights abuses have increased. BP officials were alleged to have threatened affected villagers with violence. Police repression since has led to villagers being hospitalised.
  • Compensation remains disputed for 30% of land parcels.
  • The support given to villagers whose livelihoods were critically affected by the pipeline has been inadequate or non-existent. All 98 homes in Dgvari village are structurally collapsing due to landslides intensified by the pipeline. A $1 million compensation package previously offered by BP has not materialised.
  • Damage to important heritage sites was not dealt with and continues. The 1 st Century Atskuri Fortress and 11 th Century 'Mother of God' Convent are being permanently damaged by heavy BTC vehicles.
  • All villages visited complained that damage caused during construction was neither compensated for nor repaired. In Tsemi the water supply has been polluted, ending the village's tourism industry, its primary source of income.

Kerim Yildiz of the Kurdish Human Rights Project said: "The Bank approved a $300 million loan of public money for the project and therefore there is a public interest in its social and environmental impact.  So far, we remain gravely concerned about that impact."

Mary Taylor, Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "The EBRD should be halting construction while it assesses these problems. We are calling for a thorough analysis of this project against the bank's own operational policies and full exposure of BP's short-comings. This pipeline is flawed conceptually and operationally from beginning to end - and the people of Georgia are not getting a fair deal."

Mika Minio-Paluello of PLATFORM said: "Despite the EBRD's claim that their involvement would improve standards, the BTC pipeline has resulted in reduced development and increased human rights abuses. Rather than promoting security, BTC is pushing an already volatile region towards the edge."


1) Activists from Friends of the Earth ( England , Wales and Northern Ireland ) and PLATFORM will meet outside the EBRD entrance on Bishopsgate at 8:30am.

2) The preliminary report is online at

3) A full report will be published later this year.