#Human Rights
British Home Secretary and Minister for Women & Equalities, Theresa May
United Kingdom

In the first week of December 2010, leading members of the Kurdish community in the UK were questioned by MI5. In total 16 individuals were visited at home and informed that their movements had been under surveillance for some time and that some of their activities constituted a breach of UK law. Furthermore, they were instructed that they should cease these activities forthwith.

We are deeply concerned that this questioning referred to the individual’s relations with their community in London and the UK and their open solidarity work in support of the Kurdish movement in Kurdistan.

The Kurdish movement only seeks a peaceful resolution of the 30 year armed conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK was forced to take up arms in defence of the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination as no other option was available. The origins of the conflict lie in the brutal suppression and genocide of the Kurdish people.

Today, pro-Kurdish political parties are banned, Kurdish politicians, journalists and activists jailed for simply speaking about the Kurdish issue and extra-judicial punishments and disappearances continue.

It is against this backdrop of human rights abuses that Kurds in the UK work in solidarity with Kurds throughout Europe and Turkey, to bring the abuses to an end through democratic means. In the past year, a new wave of repression of Kurds across Europe, Australia and the US indicates a pattern whereby Turkey’s allies are seeking to suppress the legitimate democratic rights of the Kurds to support the Kurdish movement.

There has been absolutely no suggestion that the individuals questioned have been engaged in any criminal activities. To date, no-one has been charged with an offence.

These incidents expose the fundamentally unjust nature of the UK’s current anti-terrorist legislation and its misguided foreign policy which supports repression abroad in the erroneous name of fighting alleged “terrorist” threats.

The root of the problem consists in the failure on the part of Turkey and its allies in the UK and Europe to acknowledge the denial of the basic rights of existence to the Kurdish people under the Turkish constitution and its state ideology.

The numerous opportunities for peace between Turkey and the Kurds offered, for example, by the latest Kurdish ceasefire and the constructive proposals for a just settlement repeatedly made by Kurdish leaders remain unreciprocated.

We the undersigned, call on the UK government to cease the intimidation of the Kurdish community.

We call on the UK government to engage constructively with the legitimate representatives of the Kurdish people in the UK and in Kurdistan in order to facilitate a just peace between the Kurds and Turkey.

We further call on the UK government to realise that its current anti-terrorism legislation, in particular the proscription of the PKK, stands as an obstacle to achieving peace.

First signatories: Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), Kurdish Federation UK, Kurdish Community Centre, Halkevi - Kurdish Turkish Community Centre, Croydon Kurdish Community Centre, Roj Women Assembly, British Peace Council, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, John McDonnell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Noam Chomsky, Lord Rea, Lord Hylton, Margaret Owen OBE

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The Appeal to stop the intimidation of Kurdish activists petition to British Home Secretary and Minister for Women & Equalities, Theresa May was written by Peace in Kurdistan and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.