On Human Rights Day

Kongreya Neteweyî ya Kurdistanê    Kurdistan National Congress
Congrès National du Kurdistan

10th December is Human Rights Day which is celebrated internationally. Today we are celebrating its seventieth anniversary. It was sixty-nine years ago, on 10 December 1948, when the world was just emerging from the aftermath of the Second World War whose horrors claimed so many victims and whose impact affected all peoples.
The people of Kurdistan did not go unaffected by the Second World War, in fact since the First World War Kurdistan had fallen victim to unfolding divisions between four states. In a similar way, after the Second World War, the fulfilment of the Kurds’ rights was not granted legitimacy and so their rights were denied to them. As an example, the destruction of the Kurdistan Republic of Mehabad occurred in the preceding year to the adopting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
That Declaration was overwhelmingly ratified by the United Nations. Later with the expansion of the United Nations the new countries which joined approved its articles. Among these countries are the four occupying states of Kurdistan, which have committed themselves to its principles. Continue reading

The Kurds and Human Rights

David Morgan asks what the Kurdish people have to celebrate on International Human Rights’ Day 2012.

The Kurds constitute one of the world’s largest populations without a nation state of their own. This great injustice is the root cause of the abuses and discrimination to which Kurds are still subjected to at the present day.  This occurs despite the fact that the Kurds are one of the oldest peoples of the Middle East and can trace their lineage back thousands of years; the first mention of the existence of Kurds is traced to reference to ‘Karduchoi’ made by the classical Greek historian Xenophon in The Expedition of Cyrus.

Today, the actual size of the Kurdish population is very hard to establish because of the difficult circumstances in which the Kurds find themselves, but the number is usually estimated at approximately 40 million. The majority of the communities of Kurds are distributed unevenly between the four states of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. The borders of these contemporary states only came into being following the First World War with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the reshaping of the region by the imperial powers. Britain, France and the US share much of the responsibility for the denial of social, cultural, political and citizenship rights to the Kurds and which is still the condition of existence for the majority of Kurds today. Continue reading