Posted by: hevallo | March 17, 2010

Protest in Los Angeles for Kurdish Children in Turkish Jails!

March 17, 2010

A RECENT demonstration in Turkey led to the arrest of and an 8-year prison sentence for a 15-year old Kurdish girl named Berivan. Convicted of “terrorist” offenses, Berivan allegedly had thrown stones at police during a rally of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

With over 2,600 minors serving time in Turkish prisons, the recent arrest of Berivan comes as no surprise. Kurdish children are being systematically imprisoned for merely singing their native songs, peacefully voicing concerns within their communities or simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Although the Kurds represent the largest linguistic minority in Turkey, comprising about 20 percent of the population, they have been subject to methodical oppression since the 1920s. The Turkish government and military has continuously targeted the Kurdish minority with hateful sentiment and denied it national and human rights.

The PKK, a separatist guerilla movement, emerged as a voice for Kurdish citizens in the early 1980s. Since its foundation, the PKK aimed to overcome the oppression of the Kurdish minority in Turkey through the establishment of an independent nation-state.

In order to combat the suppression endured by the ethnic Kurds, the PKK felt obliged to take matters into their own hands. Its members adopted what some might deem “terrorist” acts after it was made clear that institutional structures of the Turkish political system would consistently work against them.

This resulted in the Turkish government and media’s classification of the organization as a terrorist group. The truth is Turkey’s hands are far bloodier than those of the PKK.

Turkey claims to be a country devoted to democracy, yet principles of democracy are not implemented. The cycle of oppression committed against the Kurds is clear evidence that Turkey is far from being a democratic state. The arrest of the innocent Berivan is just one example of the countless human rights violations faced by minorities in Turkey today.

Let us make clear that these injustices will not go unnoticed. Join the United Human Rights Council (UHRC) on March 24 at 1400hrs for a protest outside the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles to demand the immediate release of Berivan and all children in Turkish jails.

The UHRC is a committee of the Armenian Youth Federation. By means of action on a grassroots level, it works toward correcting the human rights violations of those governments that distort, deny and delude their own history to disguise past and present genocides, massacres and human rights violations.

Nora Kayserian, Los Angeles

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