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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 speaks to MEPs at the European Parliament on Freedom of the Media in the Kurdish Regions, Wednesday 23 March 2011

KHRP is delivering a lunchtime seminar today at the European Parliament in Brussels, regarding Freedom of Expression and the Media in the Kurdish regions. The seminar is part of a series chaired by Jean Lambert MEP, Vice-President of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group of MEPs and KHRP’s Advisor on Environmental Rights.

The series seeks to promote awareness and discussion of human rights issues in the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq. KHRP aims to bring key members of the European Parliament together to discuss areas of concern such as human rights, the environment, and regional security in the Kurdish Regions as well as their implications for the EU.

There are continuing and severe violations of the right to freedom of expression across the Kurdish regions, and the media is particularly affected by strict and repressive laws that serve to prevent criticism of the state and encourage journalists and writers to practice self-censorship. This seminar seeks to highlight some of the key issues facing those working across different media in the Kurdish regions and investigate the laws and policies of the respective nations with regard to freedom of expression and media freedom.

Speaking at the seminar today, Şanar Yurdatapan, Director of the Association for Freedom of Expression in Turkey stated that ‘Turkey has a long way to go’ in terms of media freedom.

Managing Director Rachel Bernu noted, ‘Freedom of Expression is a problem throughout the Kurdish regions and one that particularly effects the media, even to the point where journalist’s and publisher’s lives are at risk. Laws are often vaguely worded, ambiguous, and far too rarely implemented in accordance with the principles of free expression. The EU and other international institutions must ensure that governments in these regions to support this fundamental right, which impacts on so many other inalienable rights, such as the right to freedom of thought and opinion.’

KHRP will be releasing a briefing paper on this topic later this week, which can be found here on Friday, 25 March.