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Source: Firat News, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign; edited by Roj Women

 

Speaking to Al Arabia TV, Christian priest Enis Hana El Demniki stated that the ISIS gangs are a serious threat to the region and that many families had been displaced from their homes.

Enis Hana El Demniki said: “they are forcing people to convert to Islam. They are capturing women and forcing girls to marry them. These things are not just being done to Christians, but also to our Yezidi sisters and brothers”.

Stating that hundreds of women had been captured, Enis Hana El Demniki said: “over 700 women have been sent to market in Mosul order to be sold as concubines. Each woman is sold for 150 dollars. The ISIS gangs also capture women and force them to marry gang members”.

Saying that Yezidis and Turkmen in Tuz Khurmatu are also being subjected to massacres by ISIS gangs, Enis Hana El Demniki added: “ISIS gangs make people’s lives miserable with fatwas and coercion. Watching television, playing football, and women working are totally forbidden by the ISIS gangs.” 

Write to your MP! ‘Action on the threat from ISIS’

Whether Parliament is recalled over the crisis in Iraq or not, nonetheless MPs will soon be returning to Westminster and without a doubt the issue will be among the top priorities of upcoming sessions.

This is why it is critical that our MPs – the people elected to represent you and your views – are not only informed properly about what is going on, but are also pushed to pressure the government and put our issues on the agenda. The media has followed events in Iraq closely. However, information about the greater impact of ISIS in Syria and the Middle East, the years of violence perpetrated by them against Rojava, the leading role of the YPG and PKK in the front against ISIS, the humanitarian efforts of Syrian Kurdish people and indeed, the existence of Rojava entirely, have been limited if not ignored completely in high-level discussions of how Britain should act in response to the crisis.

For the first time in two years, the vast humanitarian crisis caused by the brutality of ISIS against the Kurds has been thrust into the public eye, forcing the UK to make some critical decisions about how to act. This is in an opportunity to influence how government makes those decisions. 

Peace in Kurdistan has drafted a model letter which you can use to send to your local MP. You can simply add the date and sign it, or you can use this as a guide to write you own. There is also this KNK Information File for more information. To find out who your local MP is, check here. You can download a model letter from here or write your own! 

BBC World Service has travelled to the region to discover why so many of Turkey’s Kurds say they have turned their back on nationalism, and want to express their identity in ways they say are more modern, and what’s the role, and challenges, of women in this revolution.

Source: BBC World Service

Listen to the documentary here.

For decades, Turkey’s Kurds have been struggling against a state that used to deny their very existence as a separate people. More than 40,000 people have died – and hundreds of villages have been destroyed – in the war between the Turkish army and the militant Kurdish group, the PKK. But now, just when Kurds in neighbouring Iraq are considering establishing an independent state, and many believe the chaos in Syria will change borders across the region, Kurds in Turkey are increasingly reconciled to remaining within existing frontiers. As Turkey pursues peace talks with the PKK, the militant movement’s supporters talk of changing society, not borders. And already, they have initiated some radical experiments.

Pro-PKK towns and villages across eastern Turkey are now each governed by two co-mayors, male and female, and the new system has propelled many dynamic young women into power in regions that were once socially conservative. One is a survivor of domestic violence determined to use her position to encourage other women to speak up about what untill now has been a taboo subject. She is not just the first woman mayor of her town, but also the first woman ever to get a divorce there. Tim Whewell travels to the region to meet her and other social reformers, and discover why so many of Turkey’s Kurds say they have turned their back on nationalism, and want to express their identity in ways they say are more modern.

Listen to the documentary here.

 

(Photo: Berivan Elif Kilic who became the co-mayor of Kurdish Town of Kocaköy, Diyarbakir. BBC Copyright)

BBC documentary

A number of women’s associations affiliated to DÖKH (Democratic Free Women’s Movement) in Amed held a press conference in response to Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç who has recently said that “women have to be chaste, they have to be able to distinguish between what is intimate and what is not intimate. They cannot laugh out loud in public.”

Source: Kurdish Info

Making a statement on behalf of DÖKH members, the coordinator of Kardelen Women’s House Mukaddes Alataş stated that the AKP government is trying to change the agenda by means of all kinds of discriminatory policies and speeches, and that the government considers the women’s movement to be a threat.

Reminding that Turkey’s murder rate of women has increased by 1.400 percent in the last ten years, Alataş said the responsibility belonged to the ministers of the AKP government who are making statements against women with impunity.

Stressing that nobody can dare to tell women how and where to laugh, Alataş said the followings addressing government authorities; “While you are interested in our hair and look, we are trying to create a social change, and a free and democratic society.”

Also underlining that the AKP government is afraid of the women’s revolution in Rojava, Alataş added; “They are right to be afraid as they have already started to hear the footsteps of the women’s revolution in Rojava.”

 

Democratic Free Women's Movement (DÖKH)

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.

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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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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.

 

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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