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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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KHRP holds CEDAW Training and Strategy Meeting in Diyarbakir

KHRP co-hosted a training and strategy meeting with SELİS Women's Consultation Centre in Diyarbakır at Bağlar Municipality Conference Center on 23 and 24 February 2008. The training was attended by 20 women from organisations dealing with women's rights throughout the region. KHRP conducted human rights training seminars in the region in 2005 and 2006 focussing on advocacy and women’s rights. It was felt that this previous training had instilled a good basic knowledge of the Convention and established its relevance at the grassroots level. However there was a need for further, more detailed training, specifically on how to use the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Turkey has failed to submit a report outlining its implementation of the obligations contained in CEDAW in January 2007 - this implementation is due for review by the CEDAW committee in 2009.

Participants at the training session
In preparation for this review process the training, led by Smita Shah, a barrister from the United Kingdom and Catriona Vine, KHRP Legal Director, provided a refresher for the participants on the human rights principles enshrined in the Convention.  The training was cut short as a number of participants received the sad news that the body of a young women, shot to death by her husband, and been left at the local hospital. The training session was ended as the participants were anxious to determine the circumstances surrounding her death.


During the strategy meeting participants discussed the Turkish Government's implementation of the CEDAW Committee's concluding comments from its review of Turkey's previous report and there was a clear consensus that there are serious shortcomings in such implementation - the government did not appear even to have translated the concluding comments for dissemination as it had been requested to do in 2005 by the committee. It was felt that such lack of implementation poses serious questions about the way Turkey views its obligations under international law and indeed whether it is serious at all about Women's rights. At the end of the strategy meeting the participants agreed to form a platform to write a report focussing specifically on the effect of forced migration on women to be presented to the CEDAW committee during its review of Turkey's implementation of the Convention in 2008. SELİS Women's Consultation Centre has agreed to act as the temporary secretariat for the platform until a permanent secretariat can be decided upon at its next meeting in March 2008. The platform has invited KHRP to return in the summer to further assist with formulating the report.

Conditions for the training and strategy meeting were difficult given the situation in the region, with proceedings continually interrupted by the noise of fighter jets flying overhead to operations in Kurdistan, Iraq. It also emerged during the training that a young boy named Yahya Menekşe was run over and killed by a Panzer army vehicle only a few days earlier in Şırnak during a protest. This tragic event illustrates the dangers posed by the recent escalations in the region to civilian lives.