Posted by: hevallo | March 13, 2010

Save Kurdish Heritage! Save Hasankeyf! Join our Protest!


Join KHRP Protest against the Ilısu Dam at 1pm on Monday 15 March 2010

Sunday 14 March 2010 marks the International Day of Action for Rivers. The next day, KHRP has organised a demonstration in London, as part of international-led action for the Tigris River to protest against the adverse environmental, social, security and human rights impacts of the ill-conceived construction plans for the Ilısu dam project in south-east Turkey. The demonstration on Monday seeks to draw attention to the recent decisions of Turkish Banks AKBANK and Garantibank, to give financial support to the controversial project which continues to negate international safeguards related to its construction.

In 2002, British funding for the Ilısu dam collapsed when its commercial partners pulled out following relentless public awareness-raising by KHRP and its partners, believing the practical, legal and environmental obstacles needed in order to meet international standards to be too great. In July last year, KHRP was delighted when European financing for this project again folded, following the withdrawal of German, Swiss and Austrian export credit. Nevertheless, the Turkish government has failed to address widespread concerns about the project’s failure to comply with international law and has continued to reiterate that the dam is one of its top development priorities.

KHRP’s fact-finding mission and research reports on the region have consistently highlighted the plight of the thousands of people threatened with displacement and who are at risk of grave impoverishment through loss of their homes and livelihoods. Since the majority of the affected people own little or no land, they would not receive adequate compensation in accordance with international standards. The social, cultural and environmental destruction would also lead to a decline in the regional economy. In addition, the construction would severely impact the environment upstream and downstream of the dam, devastating the biodiversity and species protection for which the Tigris-Euphrates river system is known to play a significant role, and would severely reduce the flow of water to the downstream states of Iraq and Syria, with the potential for exacerbating conflict in the region.

Now as before, we can make a difference. Please play a part by joining us in Monday’s protest in London to once again step up pressure to encourage financers to look at the human rights implications of their investment and to help to raise awareness about the project internationally. Throughout Sunday and Monday, other similar demonstrations and meetings will be taking place in provinces in Turkey and across Europe.

‘The proposed dam will flood the ancient town of Hasankeyf—a site dating more than 12,000 years and last year nominated for UNESCO heritage status— and more than 300 other unexplored archaeological sites, displace up to 85,000 people, mainly Kurds, and will destroy the Tigris-Euphrates’ ecosystems, causing a huge cultural, social and environmental catastrophe’, said Rachel Bernu, Managing Director of KHRP. ‘The dam’s construction is of utmost importance for all of us everywhere who care about environmental justice, human rights and preserving age-old civilisations. Please join us on Monday to highlight the need for this project to take urgent steps to meet international law.’

The protest will be held from 1.00-2:30pm
on Monday 15 March 2010 outside the AKBANK headquarters
29 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JX.
For more information, please contact Anna Irvin
at airvin@khrp.org or on 0207 405 3835.

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