Workshop on Women's Rights
Dear Friends and Supporters,
We would like to give a huge thank you to all of those who have supported the project and let you know that you are helping women in the Kurdish regions achieve justice and redress and to prevent future violations of their rights.
In March 2011, KHRP’s Legal Associate, Saniye Karakas gave a presentation to local lawyers in Tblisi, Georgia, on laws in Turkey relating to women’s human rights. The workshop focused on issues such as domestic violence, rape and trafficking and in particular on violence against women in Turkey, specifically looking at the domestic legal framework and its effectiveness in practice. The presentation provided a brief overview of the domestic laws relating to the topic, discuss the broader social context within which they lie, and evaluate the implementation of these laws.
Throughout the region, women are vulnerable to a wide range of human rights abuses such as violence and ill-treatment, forced labour, trafficking, and denial of access to justice. Furthermore, where domestic legislation does not afford them appropriate protection or remedies, women can be denied access to legal redress both in theory and practice.
The project also marked International Women’s Day by raising awareness around the difficulties women have in accessing justice in the Kurdish regions. Whether they are in Turkey, Iraq, Iran or Syria, women face an uphill battle in their respective legal systems. Laws, court’s interpretations of laws as well as administrative and social practices all contribute to women not being able to realize their basic human rights.
The project has closely followed the case in Turkey of a man who ran over his 17 year old pregnant wife and killed her because she had been raped by his brother. KHRP was the only international observer at case which began in August 2009 and continues today. In this case, the state failed to uphold its commitment to human rights law concerned with gender based violence and discrimination. KHRP was disturbed to learn from its partner organisation the Van Women’s Association that at the most recent hearing on the 21 February 2011, a fight broke out between Pesen’s family and the accused, and the security in the courtroom battered the victim’s family. This horrific killing of Eylem Pesen again highlights the fact that much more needs to be done to improve the situation on women’s rights in the region and to insure the authorities upholds their stated aims of protection of women from violent abuse.
In addition, just over a week ago, a 13 year old girl’s abusers in Mardin were given reduced sentences for her rape because she was deemed willing. The Court gave no consideration of her age and the fact that she deserved special protection as a child. In the trial and it was reported that she was made to re-enact sexual positions in one of the hearings where she gave testimony.
Women across the Kurdish regions deserve much more from their governments and those charged with implementing the law. The project urges governments in the region to ensure that women’s rights are considered integral to the advancement of human rights as a whole. Equally, the international community has an obligation to support the networks of men and women working support these rights.Attachments: