Public Forum   Time to De-list the PKK: Respect International Law!

Public Forum: Time to De-list the PKK: Respect International Law!

 The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is not a terrorist organisation, according to the March 2019 decision by Belgium’s Court of Appeal, applying principles of international law.  How can we use this decision to strengthen the legal and political means of the international campaign to de-list the PKK?

 The event is hosted by Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Peace in Kurdistan, London Kurdish Solidarity (LKS), Democratic Kurdish Peoples Assembly UK

Thursday, 20 June 2019, 6 – 8pm at Diskus Room, UNITE Head office, 128 Theobald Road, WC1X 8TN (5 min from Holborn station) Please arrive on time as the building closes at 8pm!! Continue reading

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Judgement in the Belgian Court of Appeal. Status of the PKK.

Unofficial translation of a judgement given by the Court of Appeal of Brussels on 8 March 2019 deciding that the PKK was a party in a non-international armed conflict with the Turkish State and that therefor international humanitarian law applied and not the terrorism provisions of the Belgian Criminal Code

Disclaimer:
1. This Judgement was translated by the Defendants in the case to the best of their abilities and is therefore not an official translation of the Dutch text of the judgment. The full original Dutch text can be obtained on simple request by contacting jan.fermon@progresslaw.net.
2. The judgment is not final on 7 April 2019 as the Federal Prosecutor has appealed the decision before the Court of Cassation.

For more information:

jan.fermon@progresslaw.net Continue reading

The Ilisu Dam: a critical juncture: Open Letter to Jeremy Hunt MP

Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP
Foreign Secretary
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Whitehall
London SW1A 2AH

10 June 2019
Dear Foreign Secretary,

 The Ilisu Dam: a critical juncture

Over the past two decades, we have written to your predecessors on numerous occasions to express our grave concerns over the adverse environmental, social and geopolitical impacts of the Ilisu Dam on the River Tigris in Turkey, which is now nearing completion. The Turkish Government has now announced its intention to start filling the reservoir on or after 10 June 2019.

You will recall that in 2001 the UK construction company Balfour Beatty, which had been seeking UK  export credit support for the project, withdrew from the project after parliamentarians, experts and non-governmental organisations had expressed their opposition.  Since then, other EU companies have also withdrawn due to environmental, human rights, cultural heritage and other concerns.

The dam was planned without consultation with downstream states, in contravention with international customary law.  Even today, decades after construction began, there is no agreement between Turkey, Syria and Iraq on downstream flows; this despite expert reports suggesting that operation of the dam, in conjunction with a further planned project at Cizre, could reduce the flow of the Tigris during dry years to a trickle. There is a very real fear that the project could seriously jeopardizing the water supply of major Iraqi towns, and put agriculture downstream at risk. The UNESCO site of Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq would be threatened with drying out due to reduced downstream flows. The potential for the dam to exacerbate existing regional conflicts, not least over water, is thus severe, a threat recognised by the FCO under previous administrations.

The dam is opposed internationally. Indeed, the announcement of the proposed filling of the reservoir caused protests in Turkey, Iraq, continental Europe and the UK. A particular focus of concern is the loss of the ancient city of Hasankeyf, a site of international historical and cultural importance whose flooding (should the reservoir be filled) would be a loss not just to the region but to humanity as a whole. The threat posed by the Ilisu Dam project prompted the World Monuments Fund to list the city on its 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. Continue reading

Julie Ward MEP vists Leyla Guven and Sabiha Temikzan in Diyarbakir.

Solidarity, resistance and strength: Peoples Democratic Party MP, Leyla Güven ended her 200-day hunger strike on May 26. Güven had been consuming only sugar and salt solutions and vitamins. Her core demand that the Turkish authorities lift the aggravated isolation of Abdullah Ocalan was achieved. Ocalan has now had three visits from his legal team, the first for eight years.

Decisions of the Court of Appeal (Indictment Chambers) of Brussels (Belgium) 14 September 2017 and 8 March 2019 in the case against alleged PKK leaders and members.

Please see here a summary of the decision. It is followed by a rough translation of the full Judgement.

On 8 March 2019, the Indictment Chambers of the Court of Appeal of Brussels Belgium took a decision dismissing the case and ending all further prosecution against 40 persons and 2 companies for being agents of PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party.

The decision comes to the same conclusion as the earlier decision of the same court pronounced on 14 September 2017, subsequently quashed on some deficiencies in the statement of reasons by the Court of Cassation on 13 February 2018, namely that the conflict between PKK and the Turkish state is an non-international armed conflict as defined by international law and ruled by the laws of war (international humanitarian law), not by anti-terrorism laws. [1] Continue reading

Julie Ward MEP Sends an Open Letter to Turkish Prime Minister about the Ilisu Dam

The following letter was sent to the Turkish Prime Minister by UK Member of the European Parliament Julie Ward:

“President Erdoğan,

I am writing to express my utmost concern regarding the announcement of the filling of the Ilisu Dam on June 10th, 2019.

As you know, filling this dam will have disastrous consequences for the downstream areas of the Tigris river, and in particular for Hasankeyf. The cultural heritage of this city is unmatched, spanning nine civilisations. For 12,000 years, it has been a site of uninterrupted human settlement. Dozens of cultures have left their mark on Hasankeyf.

Continue reading

Looking back at the hunger strike by Hilal Seven : Kurds are dying on Hunger strike for democracy.

As we move onto a new post-hunger strike phase , we look back at the words of Hilal Seven, written on 16 May when Leyla Guven was on day 190 of her hunger strike.

Hilal Seven

London/ 16 May

 According to the Human Rights Association 2983 prisoners are on hunger strike in 90 prisons in Turkey since first of March 2019. Most of the hunger strikers are Kurdish and they are political prisoners.

It was then-imprisoned Leyla Güven, a HDP MP, who first started the hunger strike on November 8 in 2018. Inspired by Leyla Güven, the action spread to other prisons and people from all over the world joined it. İmam Şiş, a 32-year-old Kurdish man from Newport began is hunger strike on December 16. Three more people from London are also on hunger strike since March 14: Nahide Zengin, Mehmet Sait Yılmaz, Ali Poyraz. Continue reading

KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 7 MAY 2019 – 27 MAY 2019

NEWS

1.We Salute the Resistance
2.Jailed Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan recalls war at Tate Modern
3.Hunger strikes called off after Ocalan sees lawyers – ‘resistance has prevailed’
4.Turkey to attain peace with efforts of PKK leader Ocalan, says pro-Kurdish HDP, 26 May 2019
5.Hunger strikers end action in Turkey after call from jailed Kurdish leader Ocalan
6.Öcalan: I expect the hunger strikes to come to an end
7.Sajid Javid condemned for ‘criminalising’ fighters against Isis
8.Saturday Mothers awarded Human Rights, Peace and Democracy award
9.AKP official blames Istanbul loss on party’s alienation of Kurdish voters
10.CPT Visits İmralı Island Prison
11.France reopens inquiry into 2013 murder of Kurdish militants
12.Today a NATO country sentenced this woman to nearly two years in jail for journalism
13.Prisoners’ mothers tortured with strip searches
14.Blocked from humanitarian aid, Afrin Kurds experience hardships in Serdem Camp
15.Turkey held talks with PKK leader Ocalan in bid to resolve Syria issues

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The hunger strike is over and a new chapter in Kurdish struggle can begin

27 May 2019|Peace in Kurdistan

After 200 days, HDP MP Leyla Guven,  along with other Kurdish MPs and thousands of Kurdish prisoners in Turkey, have ended their hunger strikes in response to the breaking of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan’s isolation.

In ending her hunger strike, Leyla Guven, whose action in November 2018 started a mass movement, said the strike had achieve its immediate demands. She went on to declare that the struggle would continue by other means.

Continue reading