Since 1997 the South African Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG) has been engaged in seeking peace, human rights and democracy for the Kurdish people in Turkey. The similarities between the struggle of Abdullah Ocalan and Nelson Mandela are striking. The struggles of the South African and the Kurdish peoples are not dissimilar. The South African people have achieved their objective. The Kurdish people are still struggling to achieve their rights. In their struggle Abdullah Ocalan has been instrumental for the rights of the Kurdish people in the same way as Nelson Mandela was instrumental in the fight for the rights of the South African people.
Nelson Mandela’s release from prison 20 years ago on 11 February 1990 was the key to peace and democracy in South Africa. Demanding the release of Mandela and other political prisoners was a precondition to negotiations for a democratic constitution. Abdullah Ocalan has persistently, over the last decade, advocated a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, based on dialogue and negotiation. Ocalan has proposed a non-violent resolution of the conflict so that real democracy, justice and human rights can be afforded to the Kurdish people. Last August Abdullah Ocalan presented a road map to peace in Turkey. Like Nelson Mandela, Abdullah Ocalan, can play an important role on behalf of the Kurdish people to find a lasting solution between the Kurdish and the Turkish peoples.
In recognition of this role the Kurdish Human Rights Group in South Africa is launching an international campaign “one million signatures for the release of Abdullah Ocalan, the legitimate leader of the Kurdish people”. The European Court of Human Rights Court (ECHR) have found that the trial of Abdullah Ocalan in Turkey before a semi military tribunal was unfair. This effectively means that according to the findings of the ECHR his continued imprisonment “on Imrali an island off the coast of Turkey” is unlawful.
We call on all peace loving people in South Africa and the World to show their support and solidarity for the Rights of the Kurdish people and demand the immediate release of Abdullah Ocalan. I herewith request that you personally join our campaign by signing our petition publically on Sunday 21 March 2010 at 3pm in the Cape Town Company Gardens at the Cape Town Festival. In the unlikely event of you being unable to be with us, I request that you please sign the attached declaration.
Yours sincerely Essa Moosa (Chair – KHRAG)
Free Abdullah OcalanTarget: Prime Minister of Turkey. Sponsored by: Kurdish Human Rights Action Group www.khrag.org
International campaign for the release of Abdullah Ocalan, the legitimate leader of the Kurdish People.
Millions of Kurds in the Middle East, like the Palestinians and like the majority of South Africans under apartheid, have for decades had to endure the dispossession of their land, the systematic stripping away of their human rights and the suppression of their culture and dignity. The Kurds have been victims of massive human rights abuses, particularly in Iraq and Turkey.
Popular Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, is incarcerated on a prison island, as Nelson Mandela was. Ocalan was en route to seek political asylum in South Africa in 1999, when he was abducted in Kenya by Western intelligence agents and handed over to Turkey. He has been a prisoner for 11 years.
The Kurdish Human Rights Action Group, under the leadership of Justice Essa Moosa, is stepping up its efforts to secure the release of Abdullah Ocalan and bring about a resolution of the Kurdish question through peaceful negotiation. In recent months, many human rights activists have put their weight behind this cause and linked up with similar groups around the world.
The million signature campaign is one of several initiatives being undertaken.
Please read, sign and circulate among family, friends and associates. At most, it will take a few minutes of your time. But for Abdullah Ocalan, hundreds of political prisoners and millions of Kurdish people, it could make the world of difference.
Let us keep alive the spirit of a powerful rallying call during international struggle against apartheid %u2013 AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!
Whereas Abdullah Ocalan was en route to South Africa to seek political asylum in February 1999;
And whereas his effort was frustrated when on 15 February 1999 he was intercepted by certain intelligence agencies in Kenya, kidnapped, blindfolded and handed over to Turkish authorities;
And whereas he was tried and sentenced to death in an unfair trial before a semi-military court but the sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment;
And whereas the European Court of Human Rights subsequently found that his trial before the said tribunal in Turkey was unfair;
And whereas Abdullah Ocalan is to the Kurdish people what President Mandela was to the oppressed people of South Africa;
And whereas Abdullah Ocalan's contribution to the peace process in Turkey is vital for the peace process in the entire Middle East;
Now therefore we call upon the Prime Minister of Turkey to immediately release him from prison to enable him to contribute to the resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey and to a lasting peace between the Turkish people and the Kurdish people!
The Free Abdullah Ocalan petition to Prime Minister of Turkey was written by Suna Kose and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.