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A new joint initiative by the Kurdish Community Centre, Halkevi Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre, the Sussex Kurdish Centre, the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign & Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) seeks to remove the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from the UK Government terrorism list.

Delist the PKK believes that framing the Kurdish-Turkish conflict in terms of ‘terrorism’, far from solving the violence, has fuelled further conflict and resentment. Thousands of peaceful human rights activists and demonstrators, as well as elected politicians, lawyers and journalists, have been imprisoned in Turkey for entirely non-violent activities, deemed by the state security apparatus to be acts of terror against the state. Europe and the UK, which support Turkey’s position, also placed the PKK on the list of banned organisations and for many in the diaspora who remain linked to their homeland’s struggle for self-determination, this has led to intolerable levels of state harassment, stops and searches at border crossings, detentions, and arrests. As it has been put elsewhere, the war on terror “has generated an extensive repertoire of its very own terror”.

In addition, the peace talks that were announced at the end of 2012 and the following ceasefire called by Abdullah Ocalan, laid the foundations for the onset of negotiations that have the potential to lead to peace in Turkey and self-determination for the Kurdish people. However, as long as the PKK remains a blacklisted organisation, these talks are unlikely to turn into genuine negotiations. Some of the Kurdish movement’s most important representatives, who should be playing a key role in the resolution process, are still in prison, including Abdullah Ocalan himself. The blacklisting has led to intensive criminalisation of political dissent and of pro-Kurdish voices, creating a host of political prisoners whose amnesty must also be a condition for a genuine peace process. In May 2014, campaigners initiated an appeal to the European Court of Justice on the grounds that the continued listing of the PKK on the EU terrorism list “contradicted basic European Laws and constituted an obstacle to the attainment of a democratic solution.”

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Hundreds of people have already signed our appeal to the government to delist the PKK. Signatories include prominent human rights lawyers such as Gareth Pierce and Michael Mansfield QC, as well as a broad range of academics, writers, campaigners and parliamentarians. We need you to JOIN US in calling for the PKK to be delisted. A true peace will need to respect and reflect the wishes and traditions of the Turkish nation and the Kurds who form an integral part of it.

SIGN OUR APPEAL: We wrote an appeal to the governments of the UK, EU and Turkey calling for them to delist the PKK. Hundred have already signed but we need more signatures!  Sign your name today!

SEND A POSTCARD TO THERESA MAY: We aim to send 500 postcards to Theresa May MP, the Home Secretary, to demand that the government review the listing of the PKK as a terrorist organisation. In fact, how about organising a postcard-writing session with a few friends? The more that end up on the Home Office doorstep, the better.

COLLECT SIGNATURES FOR US: We are always looking for volunteers to hit the streets and find support for our campaign from the public. If you want to help us, get in touch!

ADVERTISE THE CAMPAIGN TO YOUR SUPPORTERS: If you are an organisation or group supportive of the aims of this campaign, how about putting a link to our appeal on your website or publicising it to your supporters in your next newsletter?

SHARE OUR CONTENT: Spread the word! We aim to keep the public informed about developments in the peace process and updated about our campaign, but we need your help sharing our content with the world. So don’t forget to like Peace in Kurdistan Campaign on Facebook for updates and share our campaign with friends, family and colleagues.

Yekîtiya Star, a women’s organization in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) have launched a new Kurdish magazine – Asoya Jinê (Women’s Perspective). The first issue of the magazine was published in May 2014.

Kurdish women will now be able to debate developments and the problems they encounter in their mother tongue. Sewtil Heyat and Nergiz Ismail, editors of of Asoye Jinê, explain that the 80-page magazine is “a message to the darkness”.

The magazine covers a variety of topics including political and social affairs, interviews with women, and a space devoted to women guerrillas who have fallen in the struggle. There is also ‘Kuncika Malame’: a forum for readers and followers to share feelings, poems, memories and stories, as well as a space for mothers to discuss handicrafts.

İsmail comments they had deliberately published the first issue of the magazine in May, because: “May is the month of martyrs and of resistance. We launched the magazine in May to stress that we are taking ownership of the legacy of those who have fallen in the struggle.”

The editor added that they welcomed contributions from women anywhere, adding: “Just as a garden cannot be considered beautiful if it only has one rose, so will articles by women from other nations embellish Asoya Jinê. It must be a team effort.”

The magazine will be distributed monthly in the cantons of Afrin, Kobane and Cizire.

Yekîtiya Star publishes another journal called “Dengê Jiyanê” in Arabic. However, Asoya Jinê is the first one published in Kurdish. The editing board welcome e-mails from readers to asoya.jine.2014@hotmail.com.

 

We are looking for a Programmes and Campaigns Coordinator for a 6 month period, from 1 October to 31 March; to be extended if funding is secured. This is a part-time position (2 days per week) and gross wages are £533 monthly.

Responsibilities

Programmatic (Administrative, Finance and Funding) – 65% of time

  • Preparation of fundraising proposals and budgets

  • Elaboration of progress reports claims and reporting to donors

  • Ensure project implementation is delivered to high standards

  • Budget and financial management

  • Team management (staff and volunteers)

Communications and networking– 35%

  • Website and other social media maintenance

  • Researching and framing advocacy campaigns; planning and implementing advocacy plans

  • Attending internal and external meetings

Skills and Qualifications Required

  • Background in gender, development or international relations

  • Good research and writing skills

  • Good communication and efficient administrative skills

  • Ability to work with budgets

  • Ability to work independently

  • Computer literate (Word, Excel, internet)

  • Fluent in English (Turkish or Kurdish desirable)

Applicants please send your CV and a brief cover letter to rojwomen@gmail.com by 1 September 2014.

About the employer

Roj Women’s Association is a Kurdish grassroots women’s organization established in 2004 in London as part of the international Kurdish women’s liberation movement. We have a membership of hundreds of women from different countries both in Europe and in the Kurdish regions of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

Roj Women’s Association campaigns to improve the lives of women in Kurdish regions and communities of the world. Our aim is to further their rights and to expand the opportunities available to them by means of drawing attention to the factors that shape their struggle and of advocating for the necessary changes to overcome them.

Our community, development and advocacy work is underpinned by research. In 2011 Roj published Empowering Kurdish women in London: a consultation on their needs‘ that sought to identify the unaddressed needs of Kurdish women living in London as well as to draw attention to the gaps in required services to tackle such needs and problems.Later, in 2012, came ‘A woman’s struggle: Using gender lenses to understand the plight of women human rights defenders in Kurdish regions of Turkey, a study that sheds light on the multiplicity of obstacles women who engage in the defence of human rights and peaceful political activism suffer at the hands of Turkish state agents in the region.

See this Activity Report for more details about Roj Women’s work.

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Two weeks have already passed since the Kurdish Women’s Festival took place in London, but the collective energy generated by it still lingers.

These are some pictures to help those would couldn’t make it this time get a flavour of the festival activities, and to bring nice memories back to those who could – we hope to see you all again next year!

 

The festival started on Saturday 28 June with the screening of the documentary Hêvî at Hackney's local Rio Cinema, in Dalston.  What do women do when their people are threatened and uprising is the only possible resistance against oppression? This film portrays four Kurds who have found very different ways  to answer this question. The former guerrilla fighter and political activist Sakine Cansız was killed during the filming of this movie on January 9, 2013 along with two other advocates in Paris. She was an icon of the Kurdish resistance. The film tells the story of her life and looks into the question of why she was murdered.

The festival started on Saturday 28 June with the screening of the documentary Hêvî at Hackney’s local Rio Cinema, in Dalston.

What do women do when their people are threatened and uprising is the only possible resistance against oppression? The opening documentary portrayed four Kurds who have found very different ways to answer this question. The former guerrilla fighter and political activist Sakine Cansız was killed during the filming of this movie on January 9, 2013 along with two other advocates in Paris. She was an icon of the Kurdish resistance. The film tells the story of her life and looks into the question of why she was murdered.

 

The screening was followed by a panel discussion with a BDP Member of Parliament and the  documentary filmmaker, Zulfiye Akkulak.

The screening was followed by a panel discussion with a BDP Member of Parliament and the documentary filmmaker, Zulfiye Akkulak.

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In the aftermath of the murders of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan, and Leyla Saylemez on January 9, 2013 in Paris, mainstream media suddenly focused on a long neglected, yet fascinating subject: the remarkable role of women in the Kurdish liberation movement.

Source: Kurdishquestion.com, By Dilar Dirik

Over the last two years, the Kurds seized control over West Kurdistan (Rojava) and gradually established self-governance structures in the midst of the Syrian civil war. From the start, women were active parts of the Rojava Revolution through their civil and political activism, but what struck Western mainstream media most was women’s identity as equal militant combattants in the war. These women, who fight against the Assad-regime, as well as jihadist groups, repeatedly stress that their struggle is a multi-front fight for freedom as Kurds and as women. Even though the existence of female fighters has been a natural element of politics across Kurdistan for decades, the world only now comes to realize the strong role of women in the Kurdish liberation movement. Especially recently, the women’s movement has captured the imagination of mainstream media in several ways, ranging from astonished awe to condescending orientalism to sheer sexism.

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Pazar günü Hackney’in yolları 12,500 kişinin koştuğu Hackney yarım maraton için kapandı. Hackney Belediyesinin ilk defa düzenlediği “Yarım Maraton Enerji Koşusuna” Roj Kadın Vakfını temsilen de 11 kişi katıldı.

Koşuya Roj Women için katılan koşucular, 21 kilometrelik mesafeyi aşarak koşuyu başarıyla tamamladılar.

Sabah saat 9’da başlayan koşuyu, sıcak havaya rağmen binlerce kişi tamamladı.

Peter Emase, erkeler arasında, 1 saat 4 dakikada koşuyu bitirerek yarışın birinciliğini kazandı. Gladys Yator 1 saat 15 dakikayla bayanlar arasında birinciliği kazandı.

Roj Women adına katılan koşucular tişörtlerinin üzerinde “Running for a life free of violence”(Şiddetsiz bir hayat için koşuyoruz) ve “Think Purple: end violence against women” (Mor düşün: kadına karşı şiddete son ver) yazılı sloganlarıyla kadına karşı şiddet konusunda duyarlılık ve projeler için maddi destek toplamak amacıyla katılım sağladılar.

Nine of Roj's eleven runners posed for a picture at the end of the half-marathon.

Nine of Roj’s eleven runners posed for a picture at the end of the half-marathon.

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On Sunday 22 June, 11 volunteers run a half - marathon for Roj Women in the 
London Borough of Hackney. They wore t-shirts with Roj Women's logos on them 
reading 'Running for a life free of violence' and 'Think purple: end violence against 
women!' 

We would like to thank Bediye, Suna Parlak, Esra Turk, Berivan Battaloglu, Zeynep Kurban, Anil Doner, Fatma Tekagac, FerhanYildiz, Nese Kayacan, Ayse Tekaga, Makbule Gunes, Munevver Dogan and Saadet Mengi for the effort they put in training for and running a half-marathon to raise awareness in our community of the epidemic that is violence against women.Thanks to all of you – we are not going to allow violence against women in our community!

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