European Lawyers Delegation visits Diyarbakir

Press release

A delegation of European lawyers will visit Diyarbakir from 21st to 24th January 2016. The 13 participants come from Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Austria. Two European lawyers’ organisations are supporting this initiative, the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) and the European Democratic Lawyers (EDL) and also the “Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane”

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IHD releases report into Turkey-Rojava broder crossings

IHD logo
The Human Rights Association (IHD) has published a report based on its recent investigations at the Turkey-Rojava border. The IHD formed a human rights committee to examine whether the border gates and crossings are open to humanitarian aid and the condition of refugee camps, through interviews with locals, political party officers, mayors, non-governmental organization representatives.

The report is available to download here (pdf)

Trials and Tribulations in Turkey

by David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan

Turkey’s lamentable human rights record and, in particular its attempts to intimidate independent Kurdish organisations through mass show trials, was the theme of an important seminar held by Peace in Kurdistan on 18 September in Garden Court Chambers.

The briefing brought together leading legal experts, media professionals and human rights activists who had all been taking a close interest in the trials of fellow lawyers, journalists, academics and trade unionists taking place in Turkey over recent months.

The trials, which have involved the arrest of thousands of progressive and mainly Kurdish activists, and seen hundreds sent to trial, have collectively become known as the KCK trials after the Kurdistan Communities Union, an umbrella civil society association, which the Turkish state deems to be a front for terrorism.

The trials in fact amount to Turkey’s attempts to criminalise and eliminate all aspects of Kurdish legal political activity and are the state’s response to recent electoral advances made by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, which has been gaining strength in the largely Kurdish southeast. Continue reading

First impressions from women delegates to North Kurdistan

“More and more women are becoming politically active and so the number of women in prison is rising too.”

First impressions and meetings of the delegation

Since 6th July 2012 a women delegation, with 12 participants from England and Germany in total, has been in North Kurdistan. Amongst the participants are representatives of different women’s rights and human rights organisations, as well as the well-known trade unionist and member of the women’s committee of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Professor Mary Davis.

The delegation was initiated by the Kurdish Women’s Office for Peace (Ceni) and supported by the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign in London, in order to give the work of the women’s academies a wider publicity; to strengthen the exchanges between women’s projects, women’s rights and human rights initiatives in Kurdistan and Europe, and to learn from each other; as well as to show practical international solidarity in the face of the increased repression by the Turkish state against the women’s movement and trade union movement.
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Protest against the arrest of human rights campaigner, Osman Isci, and 27 trade unionists

29th June 2012

In a joint statement, the organisations listed below have expressed their concerns about the arrest of 28 trade unionists, amongst them being Osman Isci.

Contents: 1. Background 2. Demands 3. Signatories 4. Contacts 5. Websites

Background

On 28th/29th June 2012, the Heavy Penal Court (12) in Ankara issued a warrant of arrest against Osman Isci, a member of the human rights group IHD, of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network  EMHRN, and the education trade union Egitim-Sen, which in turn belongs to the Confederation of Trade Unions for Public Services. Another 27 trade unionists were also taken into custody under the charge of membership to an illegal organisation according to article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code. 25 trade unionists were released, but can expect to face trial.

All suspects were arrested for the charge, so-called the “city-structure” of the PKK, of belonging to the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK). As well as the education trade union Egitim-Sen, the trade unions of the SES (Occupations in Health and Social Services), the BTS (Occupations in Transportation), and representatives of these trade unions in the provinces of Ankara, Diyarbakir, Istanbul, Agri, Bitlis, Siirt, Adana and Eskisehir were also affected. Continue reading