Report of 2020 International Peace Delegation to İmrali



Opening Press Conference at HDP Headquarters Ankara with Pervin Buldan, Julie Ward, Hişyar Özsoy, Melanie Gingell, Ögmundur Jónasson, Shavanah Taj and Felix Padel.
The İmralı Peace Delegation visited Turkey between 11th and 16th February 2020, witnessing and gathering evidence about the state of civil society and human rights in the country. The  delegation sought to visit the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish freedom movement Abdullah Öcalan in order to assess his situation and conditions of detention. The annual delegation reports have provided a base measure of human rights in Turkey over the last decade and enabled a diverse group of academics, politicians, lawyers, faith leaders, journalists and trade unionists to visit various locations and assess the situation for themselves. The International Initiative organises the delegations with the primary purpose of keeping the cruel situation of Öcalan’s detention in the public eye, and as part of a wider campaign to highlight the need to reinstitute a peace process in Turkey.
The delegation this year consisted of Ögmundur Jónasson, former Justice Minister of Iceland and Honorary Associate of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Julie Ward, UK MEP until January 2020, Shavanah Taj, Leader of the Trade Union Congress in Wales, Felix Padel, sociologist and anthropologist, affiliate of Oxford University, and Melanie Gingell, Barrister, Associate Tenant Doughty Street Chambers, London. It held a series of meetings in Ankara with Ms Pervin Buldan Co-Chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and Hişyar Özsoy Deputy Co-Chair of HDP, Leaders of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, Liberationist Lawyers Association, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and the Confederal Trade Union of Public Workers. In İstanbul they met with lawyers from Asrın Law Office on 15th February, the 21st Anniversary of the kidnapping of Mr Öcalan in Kenya. They then met Eren Keskin, leading Human Rights Lawyer with representatives of the Saturday Mothers. Continue reading “Report of 2020 International Peace Delegation to İmrali”


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  1. Co-chair of the PYD: SDF could join government forces in Idlib after an agreement on role in Syrian Armed Forces
  2. The relationship between ecology and the system is unsustainable
  3. Turkey must release political prisoners: Human Rights Watch
  4. Kurdish-led SDF calls for truce in Syria amid coronavirus pandemic
  5. Russia sends ship with military ambulances towards Syria after virus outbreak
  6. UN calls for total ceasefire in Syria to focus on coronavirus
  7. Iran-backed militias beef up presence in Syria’s Idlib, Aleppo: monitor
  8. Turkey using drug from China for coronavirus
  9. Turkey tightens restrictions to curb coronavirus outbreak
  10. Turkey dismisses eight pro-Kurdish party mayors in east
  11. EU leaders to review 2016 deal with Turkey on migrants
  12. UN expert raises alarm over migrant, asylum seeker ‘pushbacks’ at Turkey-Greece border
  13. Fears mount as Syria reports first coronavirus case
  14. Kurdish-led northeast under lockdown as Syria announces first coronavirus case
  15. Turkish-backed group’s disruption of water puts 460,000 people at risk, UNICEF warns
  16. Iraq, Kurdistan crack down on coronavirus curfew violators as infections rise
  17. Turkey’s Coronavirus Death Toll Up Nine to 30 as 289 New Cases Diagnosed-Health Minister
  18. Turkish-backed group, again, cuts water supply to 460,000 people in northeastern Syria
  19. Syrian President Issues Amnesty, Reduces Sentences
  20. Syria Confirms First Coronavirus Case as Fears Grow It Could Spread
  21. Iraqi forces take over US base along Syrian border
  22. High-risk Syria ups measures against coronavirus
  23. Russia Satisfied with Turkey’s Military Patrols Along Syria’s M4 Highway
  24. Turkey Imposing Curfew for People Over Age 65
  25. War-ravaged Syria takes steps against coronavirus
  26. War-Ravaged Syria Takes New Steps Against Coronavirus, Says No Recorded Cases Yet
  27. Syrian Kurdish authorities ease military draft demands for Kurds abroad
  28. Greece: 11 Arrests, Arms Seized in Turkey-Linked Terror Raid
  29. Turkey denies reports of troop pullback in Syria
  30. Turkey to suspend all scientific and culture events in latest coronavirus measure
  31. PKK: Let’s celebrate Newroz!
  32. Doctors in northwest Syria brace for ‘devastating’ coronavirus
  33. Turkey says it sent 500,000 coronavirus test kits to United States
  34. Turkey-backed rebels violate ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib
  35. Students under investigation for refusing to sing Turkish national anthem
  36. US slaps sanctions on Syria defence minister for Idlib assault
  37. Turkey Confirms First Coronavirus Death, More Than Doubles Cases to 98
  38. Coronavirus in Syria: WHO to test for coronavirus
  39. France Unlocks Extra 50 Mln for Humanitarian Aid to Syria
  40. Gulf Keystone Petroleum suspends drilling activities at well in Iraqi Kurdistan
  41. Journalists start Twitter campaign in Turkey
  42. Top Kurdistan Region officials commemorate 32nd anniversary of Halabja genocide
  43. Greece hopes EU-Turkey talks will ease tension over refugee crisis
  44. Government scrambles to contain coronavirus as Turkish cases triple
  45. Russia, Turkey curtail first joint military patrol in Syria’s Idlib
  46. Syria elections postponed over coronavirus
  47. UN says concerned about recent escalation in Iraq
  48. More than 4.8 million children born into war in Syria: UN
  49. Coronavirus: Turkey quarantines thousands of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia
  50. Turkey-Russia Patrols Start Amid Protests on Syrian Highway
  51. Syria, insisting it is coronavirus-free, takes broad steps to prevent spread
  52. KRG imposes curfews, orders quarantine of those returning from abroad as infections continue
  53. Russia, Turkey set joint patrols
  54. New law abolishes honor killings’ mitigating excuse in Syria
  55. Kurdish-led northern Syria says no coronavirus cases, implements countermeasures
  56. Egypt helping Kurdish-led troops in Syria fighting Turkish forces
  57. Turkey detains Kurdish human rights lawyers on terror claims
  58. Turkish police detain HDP co-mayor of Kurdish city
  59. Turkey Blames Kurdish Fighters for Syria Blast That Killed 4
  60. US prepares biting Syria sanctions as Assad pummels Idlib
  61. Turkey-based Kurdish publisher shortlisted for international ‘courage’ award
  62. American, British soldiers killed in fresh rocket attack on Iraqi base
  63. Babacan’s new party vows Turks can tweet without fear of arrest
  64. Report: Greece secretly detains, abuses refugees 
  65. Turkey threatens ‘heavy’ retaliation if Idlib ceasefire is broken
  66. Turkey jails Kurdish ex-mayor for nine years for ‘terrorism’ links
  67. Turkey says U.S. offering Patriot missiles if S-400 not operated
  68. Turkey hopes for new refugee deal with EU before March 26

Continue reading “KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 10 MARCH – 24 MARCH 2020”


Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street


London SW1A 2AH

Dear Foreign Secretary


Ref. Justice for the Turkish music group “Grup Yorum”


We write to express our concerns at the threat to the lives of the members of the popular Turkish folk band, Grup Yorum, who have been on hunger strike in protest at Turkey’s persecution of the band including a ban on its performances first imposed in 2016.

The musicians allege that they are being unfairly singled out because of their outspoken political stand against social injustices in their country.

The Turkish government claims that Grup Yorum is linked to the banned Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Continue reading “OPEN LETTER TO DOMINIC RAAB – DEATH FAST OF GRUP YORUM”





The KNK’s founding congress was held in Amsterdam on 24th May 1999 as a result of four years of discussions and planning within the Kurdish movement. The event marks a major breakthrough in the political organization of the Kurds, bringing together representatives from all parts of the divided Kurdistan with the common aim to solve the disunion between Kurdish political parties. The Kurdistan National Congress was created to embody the moral unity of the Kurdish nation and to elaborate a concerted strategy for democratic solution to the Kurdish question within the existing states. The KNK Charter, adopted on 26 May 1999, outlines its aims and objectives:

The Congress resides temporarily in Brussels until the return to Kurdistan. It is expanding its activities worldwide and now has offices in many major cities. Its work consists of:


􏰀 The political lobbying of governments, the EU, the European Parliament, Council of Europe, the UN and other international institutions;

Kongra Netewiya Kurdistan

􏰀 Disseminating regular information about the changing situation in Kurdistan to the media and public, organizing meetings, seminars, conferences and events promoting Kurdish history and culture;

KNK Head Office


The Congress works for the revival and progress of the Kurdish language and culture.

• The national struggle of Eastern part of Kurdistan has to develop further, and we are ready for a new process to achieve our goals through peaceful means. We have to be ready for these changes and the national unity of our people.

Rue Jean Stas 41
1060 Brussels, Belgium Tel: 0032 2 647 3084

6-9 Manor Gardens London N7 6LA
Tel: 0207 272 7890

The Congress tries to achieve peace in the Middle East and the world, as well as working against all forms of discrimination and extremism.”

• Our meeting clearly declares that there are other ethnic groups living among our national geography, and these nations and ethnic minorities are to be protected, respected on their religion, creed, beliefs etc., and we are to establish a secular democratic system, which will respect every other people in the region

“For the sake of strengthening cooperation and the common struggle among the parts of Kurdistan, the Congress works on the basis of national unity and the main interests of the people of Kurdistan.

women’s groups, trade unions and others to raise awareness about political issues and human rights violations in all parts of Kurdistan.

The Congress tries to solve the problems among the people of Kurdistan and the neighboring countries peacefully and in a friendly manner.

Main points decided at the 13th General Meeting of KNK, held in Brussels on 25-26 May 2013.

The Congress rejects all forms of violence, but supports defensive measures.

• Democratisation of Middle East can be achieved through the recognition of Kurdish identity and Kurdistan as a nation. Therefore those countries that are either directly or indirectly involved have to recognise this problem, change their position on this important and sensitive issue, and listen to the Kurdish people’s wishes. On these grounds Kirkuk and other parts of the Kurdish region that were taken have to be included again in the map of Kurdistan, and these countries have to show their respect for the map of Kurdistan and its territory.

The Congress recognizes the social reality of Kurds and Kurdistan, and supports and implements the principle of positive discrimination towards women’s participation in all its activities, projects and organizations.

The Congress supports the national liberation struggle of Kurdistan in all parts (Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria) and regards the provision of any kind of necessary support for the sake of achieving political organization as its duty.

• On this very important gathering the Kurds have paid particular attention to the developments in South Western Kurdistan, (within Syrian state territory). We fully support our Kurdish brothers and sisters who are right now fighting for their freedom.

The Congress, as a representative establishment of the people of Kurdistan, works on an international level for the sake of obtaining and maintaining its interests and for this aim cooperates with the political organizations of Kurdistan.

• In the Northern part of Kurdistan, there is a peace process initiated by Kurdish leader Mr. Ocalan. We are calling on the Turkish government and other countries that may have interest in this process to listen very carefully to the wishes for a democratic solution for the Kurdish nation. Therefore the peace solution or road map, proposed by the Kurdish leader, has to be taken into account, in order to achieve a permanent peace in the country. Therefore we are calling on Turkey to release Mr. Ocalan and all other Kurdish political prisoners.

The Congress supports the preservation of freedom and liberation for all the religions, sects and beliefs in Kurdistan.

􏰀 Publishing materials, including an official KNK bulletin;
􏰀 Working alongside politicians, NGOs, human rights group,

• Kurdistan as a nation has the right to live and create their own destiny as a Kurdish nation in their own land.



For all of the latest Kurdish news, see these sources:

ANF English:

Hawar News:

Rojava Information Center:

Women Defend Rojava:


Rojava Centre for Strategic Studies

Komun Academy:


Continue reading “KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 11 FEBRUARY – 9 MARCH 2020”

UPCOMING SEMINAR: East Kurdistan/Rojhelat: the struggle of the Kurds for democracy and freedom in Iran


East Kurdistan/Rojhelat: the struggle of the Kurds for democracy and freedom in Iran

Dancing Rojhelat girls








Join us for a discussion of The Kurdish peoples’ struggle for rights, for gender equality and democratic confederalism which is critical for the future of Iran, the Middle East and the end to war and oppression.

Saturday 28 March 2.30 – 4.30pm

Room G3, SOAS, Russell Square WC1H 0XG

The event is co-hosted by Peace in Kurdistan and SOAS Kurdish Society and supported by Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK

Speakers include Salah Abbasi is a political analyst, writer and literary critic from East Kurdistan; Evin Abrishami  is a human rights campaigner from Mahabad in Iran; Diba Alikhani is a women’s rights activist from Kurdistan-lran; Dr Allan Hassaniyan, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Kurdish Studies, University of Exeter

All welcome! The event is free but please RSVP to

Peace in Kurdistan: estella – 07846 666 804

SOAS Kurdish Society: Bertangunes – 07925 072 753

Continue reading “UPCOMING SEMINAR: East Kurdistan/Rojhelat: the struggle of the Kurds for democracy and freedom in Iran”


Peace in Kurdistan stands in solidarity on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2020, alongside all Kurdish women, across Kurdistan, in the diaspora, and all who are engaged in the struggle for liberation and for their just democratic rights. We stand with all women fighting for justice and freedom from state violence, who are so often at the forefront of global liberation movements.

In these tragic times with the Kurdish-Turkish conflict well and truly ignited in Syria the struggle of the Kurdish people for their genuine liberation remains as urgent as ever. In the face of systematic violence and state oppression, Kurdish women’s voices and activism are among the loudest and most fearless of the mass popular movement that has emerged over recent decades.

They so often pay the highest price. Women politicians have been deliberately targeted during the conflict, for example, Hervin Khalaf, the secretary general of the Future Syria party, a greatly respected politician and diplomat, who was assassinated by Turkish backed mercenaries in Syria in October 2019. Continue reading “INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2020 SOLIDARITY”

2020 International Peace Delegation to Imrali


The 2020 International Peace Delegation visited Turkey between 11th and 16th February 2020, having previously written to Abdulhamit Gül, the Minister of Justice for the Republic of Turkey, requesting to meet with him personally and also requesting his co-operation in arranging a visit to Imrali Prison to meet with Abdullah Öcalan. There was no response from the office of Abdulhamit Gül. Continue reading “2020 International Peace Delegation to Imrali”