The Kurdish Human Rights Action Group has published a statement on behalf of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and their other members who stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people, as they commemorate the horrors of the Halabja attacks in 1988, and celebrate Newroz 2012:
HALABJA COMMEMORATION AND NEWROZ CELEBRATIONS 2012
This message comes to you on behalf of Archbishop Tutu and the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group in Cape Town South Africa which represent all South Africans who stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people.
As we write the message we have been informed through a News Flash that the “Governor’s Office of Diyarbakır has denied permission to the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)’s application for the Newroz (Kurdish New Year) main event to be held on Sunday 18 March.” We condemn the intimidatory attitude of the Governor’s office and demand that the Kurdish people be allowed to commemorate on of the most horrific events in the history of the Kurdish people.
It is and honour and a privilege to send you these greeting as you commemorate Halabja 1988 and look forward to the celebration of Newroz on Wednesday. We do so with anger at the Turkish authorities for continually stopping the Kurdish people from commemoration and celebration. What have they to fear? They must fear for themselves because it will not be long before it will be their turn as the protests against illegitimate regimes continue in the Middle East.
We must remember the horrors of Halabja 1988 which have not been erased from our memories because the Turkish authorities remind us of it every time they use chemical weapons on Kurdish freedom fighters. Halabja 1988 is repeated every time the Turkish military attach innocent youth and children.
The humiliation of the Kurdish people continues every day when the Turkish authorities hold Abdullah Ocalan in prison on Imrali. It continues when they refuse to release political prisoners and continue to arrest and imprison your political leaders.
We stand in solidarity with you as you remember. We warn the perpetrators of violence and suffering against you that you will not forever allow your people to die from complications, birth defects and diseases as a result of the effect of the Halabja attack or the from the use of highly toxic and lethal chemical weapons against Kurdish guerrillas as recent as 2011
May this NEWROZ bring new hope for a settlement of the issues that is resulting in the deaths of so many of Kurdish children and young people.
May it bring new hope for the release of Abdullah Ocalan and all political prisoners and the return of all Kurds who are living in the Diaspora.
We stand in solidarity with you as you demand that your leaders negotiate a new constitution in which the freedom of all Kurds is guaranteed.
We strongly support the statement made by MEP Hannes Swoboda, chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, and his call on Turkey to re-start negotiations with the PKK. The last outstanding matter in the Middle East is the Kurdish question in Turkey. We call on the EU and the US to play a more animated role in resolving this problem. The EU and the US should also remove the PKK from the Terrorist List. The PKK is not a terrorist organisation, it is a liberation movement and keeping the PKK on TERRORIST list makes it possible for Turkey to accuse and jail thousands of people in Turkey.
Commemorate Halabja and Celebrate NEWROZ by unbinding yourselves from the restrictions that have been placed on you.
Fr. MATTHEW ESAU (LLM)