‘Some Perspectives on Genocide’

 By Desmond Fernandes.[i]


Presented at the ‘Holocaust Commemoration and Genocide Awareness’ meeting, the House of Commons, Committee Room 16, Westminster, 4th February 2014. Organised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and hosted by Mr Virendra Sharma, MP.

Desmond Fernandes, in his presentation, highlighted some of the key perspectives of Raphael Lemkin (who coined the neologism genocide), Khatchatur Pilikian, Gregory Stanton and John Docker on genocide. Pilikian, on the occasion of Hrant Dink Day on 19th January 2010, had observed that:

Our turbulent times … will soon teach us new lessons, granted we are willing to learn and act upon it. As the Preamble of the Verdict of the prestigious Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal of April 16th 1984 concludes: ‘Indeed, acknowledging genocide itself is a fundamental means of struggling against genocide. The acknowledgement is itself an affirmation of the right of a people under international law to a safeguarded existence’.

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Military strikes against Syria ‘a violation of UN Charter’ – ELDH

[updated – 30 August 2013]

European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) Statement on Syria and potential military strikes:

30 August 2013

The European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), with members in 18 European countries, is absolutely opposed to the proposed use of illegal force by Western powers against the Syrian regime.

The US government is leading a call for military action against Syria which will of necessity kill civilians, with the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that by killing large numbers of civilians (allegedly with chemical weapons) they have crossed a “red line” and must be punished.

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Urgent plea to President Barack Obama

Peace in Kurdistan patron Margaret Owen OBE has written an open letter to US President Barack Obama, urging him to make an urgent investigation into the brutal massacre and kidnapping of hundreds of Kurdish men, women and children at the hands of US- and Turkey-backed Al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria.

In the letter she reminds President Obama that Western Kurdistan had, until recent provocations, remained peaceful under the leadership of the PYD and had become a safe haven for many Syrian’s fleeing violence in the worn-torn country. Turkish anxieties over the new project of democratic autonomy in Western Kurdistan should not justify the international community’s indifference to the massacre of innocent Kurdish civilians.
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Report on the Halabja Conference in the EP published

On 16 March, the the Kurdish people commemorated the anniversary of the Halabja Genocide in 1988, in which more than 5,000 Kurds were killed in air strikes in Northern Iraq using chemical weapons. On the same day, a summary report on the recent conference in the European Parliament called “Remembering the Halabja Genocide and the Use of Chemical Weapons Against Kurds” was published, which we have made available to download here (doc). You can also see the final declaration that was adopted by the conference participants below:

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Final declarations from the Halabja conference in European Parliament

Last week, the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) held an annual conference entitled Remembering the Halabja genocide and the use of chemical weapons against Kurds in the European Parliament. Contributions were made by members of the European Parliament, representatives from a variety of Kurdish civil society organisations, political parties and by medical experts and victims of the chemical attacks. You can download a copy of the programme here (doc). Below are the final declarations from the conference, which are also available for download here (doc), as well as an article about the conference reposted from AK News. Continue reading

Dossier: Stop the political genocide and femicide against the Kurds in Turkey!

The following is a dossier produced by CENI Kurdish Women’s Office for Peace and the KNK, which provides a useful account of recent developments in Turkey, the actions of an increasingly repressive AKP government and the role and significance of Abdullah Ocalan’s arrest and continued imprisonment for a solution to the Kurdish Question. You can download the dossier here (pdf).

February 2012


Stop the political genocide and femicide against the Kurds in Turkey!

Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan!


1. Political Genocide and Femicide – the AKP Regime

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Protesters carry 34 coffins to Turkish Embassy in memory of Uludere victims

Yesterday, 8 February 2012, the Kurdish Community in London held a march to commemorate the 40th day of mourning for the 34 Kurdish civilians killed in a bombardment by Turkish fighter jets on 28 December 2011. The marchers carried 34 symbolic coffins from Amnesty International to the Turkish Embassy, where officials secretly filmed the protesters from inside the building. The peaceful demonstration was organised by several Kurdish community centres in London and attended nearly 200 people. You can read the original statement about the march below:

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Kurds Sue Turkish Government over Massacre of Their Compatriots

The American Kurdish Information Network and their colleagues have initiated a criminal complaint against the Turkish government and members of the Turkish military forces for inciting, encouraging and directly perpetrating mass murder against Kurdish civilians on the night of 28 December 2011. Below is an extract of the complaint, which can be found in full in both English and Turkish here.
January 27th, 2012

Sait Pektaş, Edip Yüksel, Kani Xulam
The Turkish Government and the Top Commanders of its Military Forces Continue reading

EDM on Roboski killings tabled in UK parliament

A new Early Day Motion has been tabled by Hywel Williams MP, condemning the attack by the Turkish air force on civilians in the border province of Sirnak which killed 35 innocent people.

It is important that members of the British parliament do not ignore the massacre, particularly when the UK government is increasing its cooperation with the Turkish military. We urgently need to get MP’s to sign the motion, to generate support in Parliament for the Kurdish people and their struggle against the repressive actions of the Turkish government. Continue reading

Has Anything Changed in Turkey? From Hrant Dink in 2007 to Ragip Zarakolu, 2012

Below we reproduce an article written by Desmond Fernandes, which was presented to the Hrant Dink Commemoration event in Parliament, 18 January 2012. The event was sponsored by Baroness Randerson and organized by Solidarity with Prisoners of Conscience in Turkey and the Forum for Stateless Nations and ‘Other’ Minorities:

Has Anything Changed in Turkey?: From Hrant Dink in 2007 to Ragip Zarakolu, 2012 -The targeting of the “Other” in Turkey – By  Desmond Fernandes.[i] Continue reading