3 August 2016 marks the 2nd anniversary of the Feminicide and Genocide by Islamic State (IS) against Yazidi people in Sinjar/Shengal. On 3 August 2014 IS attacked and captured Sinjar, which is the historical homeland of Yazidis, a Kurdish religious minority whose ancient religion is linked to Zoroastrianism. ISIL destroyed Yazidi shrines, executed resisters and demanded the residents to swear allegiance or be killed. During the IS-massacre in Sinjar up to 5.000 Continue reading
Call for Support to the Academics under Judicial Harassment
Please make a small video on your phone in support of the academics who are standing with Kurdish people under attack in South-East Turkey and who are losing their jobs and facing prosecution as a result. See below for details.
Turkish scholars have been subject to heavy pressures and constraints since the declaration of the petition “We’ll not be a party to this crime” launched by the Academics for Peace initiative in mid-January. In Mersin, a middle-sized city on the Mediterranean Coast, this climate of pressure has been experienced in an accentuated manner as the twenty-one petitioners of the city’s University have since then faced very serious threats and sanctions. Continue reading
PRELIMINARY REPORT BY JURISTS
BASED ON VISIT TO CİZRE
This study has been prepared as a report to present an updated and general perspective for the public on the human rights violations that occurred in Cizre, Turkey beginning on December 14, 2015. Reporting and documentation activities were conducted based on statements by the victims/witnesses who live in Cizre. In this preliminary report, we have included only some groups (women, children) and references to a limited number of cases that exemplify the nature and specifics of the incidents.
Subsequent to March 2, 2016, when entry to Cizre was permitted, lawyers of Libertarian Lawyers Association (ÖHD), Mesopotamia Lawyers Association (MHD), Asrın Law Firm (AHB), and the Foundation for Society and Legal Studies (TOHAV) entered Cizre to document human rights violations and legal processes.
A chronological segmentation of the curfews in Cizre, indicates that there were three periods of curfew up until the date of this report: Continue reading
After much controversy during the last several weeks in which the EU, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, were accused of delaying the publication of their annual Progress Report for Turkey’s EU accession process so that deals could be made over the refugee crisis, the report has finally been made public.
The report makes sharp criticisms of Turkey for ‘backsliding’ in respect to fundamental rights and the rule of law, in particular freedom of press, expression and assembly. It also calls for an immediate resumption of the peace process following a serious deterioration of its security situation.
You can download the report in full here (pdf): Turkey Progress Report 2015
The YPG has released a response to a controversial Amnesty International report published last week which accused the Kurdish forces of forcibly displacing Arab civilians from villages. The report was apparently the result of a ‘fact-finding mission’ to Rojava, but its findings have been heavily disputed by solidarity activists, Kurdish political organisations and now the YPG itself, which says: “The report contains fallacies since the testimonies of the individuals interviewed by Amnesty International were incorrect and contradictory to the facts and evidence, widely available and easily accessible to everyone. In this official statement, we will mention some of these flagrant fallacies that put the credibility of the report and Amnesty International at stake.”
The introduction to the report is here. To read the full report, which unpicks the evidence, or lack thereof, of war crimes committed by Kurdish forces, here.
Human Rights Watch recently published a report in which their investigators claimed the Kurdish authorities in Rojava have committed arbitrary arrests, violations of due process and other abuses. In particular, the report singles out the Democratic Union Party (PYD) despite it not being the sole authority in the region, and the Foreign Relations body of Democratic Self-Rule Administration has now issued a response to the report in which they clarify certain points:
Available for download here (pdf)
1 May 2014
Deniz Akgul, a British citizen originally from North Kurdistan, recently had an extradition request dismissed after the Westminster Magistrates Court found that the government of Turkey had deliberately misled British courts and abused the extradition process.
In a remarkable ruling, the district judge Shenagh Bayne dismissed Turkey’s request to extradite Mr Akgul, who was accused of providing ‘material support’ to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the form of food, books and cameras under Article 220/7 of the Turkish Penal Code. In her final judgement, the judge not only concluded that the Turkish government abused the extradition process, but she also accepted evidence that Mr Akgul had been previously tortured by Turkish authorities and would face a real risk of further ill-treatment were he to be returned to Turkey.
His barrister, Ben Cooper, has defended some of the most complex extradition cases and won numerous successes on human rights grounds. He has defended ETA suspects and IRA suspects, as well Babar Ahmed and others accused of terrorism by the US. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign spoke with him to find out more about the case and why the ruling is so important.
The International Initiative has released a statement regarding the European Court of Human Rights’ recent judgement on Ocalan vs. Turkey case. Read it here:
Öcalan vs. Turkey decision: A bad day for human rights in Europe
Statement of International Initiative on the ECtHR decision in Öcalan vs. Turkey (No. 2)
The European Court of Human Rights today published its chamber decision in a set of applications by Abdullah Öcalan against Turkey.
The complaints referred, among others, to the isolation conditions on Imrali Island, the aggravated life sentence with no possibility of parole, the overhearing of all consultations with his lawyers and then threat to his life posed by the poisonous substances found in his hair. In the view of Öcalan and his lawyers, these and other violations constitute violations of articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The introduction to this years report reads:
“I NEVER IMAGINED THAT…TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING COULD MEAN WALKING THE LINE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH… MANY TIMES I’VE FELT AS THOUGH FEAR HAS SOAKED THROUGH TO MY BONES, BUT THE FEELING OF RESPONSIBILITY IS STRONGER”
As part of Peace in Kurdistan’s continuing monitoring of the ongoing KCK Trials in Turkey, solicitor Tony Fisher and barrister Melanie Gingell have returned from Istanbul where they observed the latest hearing of a mass trial of 46 Kurdish lawyers. Tony Fisher, a member of the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee, has written the following report about the hearing on 3 January, which includes a summary of the proceedings and a commentary on the highly politicised nature of the trial. The report is also available for download.
KCK TRIAL OF KURDISH LAWYERS – ISTANBUL 3rd January 2013
This is a further report on the trial of 46 Kurdish lawyers and other professionals on alleged terrorist offences arising out of their position as representatives of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. The trial was adjourned from November 2012 to 3rd January 2013 and resumed on the morning of 3rd January at Silivri court. This report should be read in conjunction with my earlier report dated 8th November 2012.