14. Mai 2006
Annual General Meeting of the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) on 13-14th May 2006 in Göttingen The AGM of the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) is concerned about the situation of the Kurds in Turkey and about the position of the religious minorities, the Assyro-Chaldean Christians, the Yezidi and the Mandeans in Iraq. The human rights situation in Turkey has steadily deteriorated in the past few months. Since the beginning of April 2006 the Turkish security forces have been taking ever heavier measures against the Kurdish civilian population.
Even 12 to 14-year olds who have taken part in demonstrations are being brought to court. Those present at the Annual General Meeting of the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfBV) call on the German government and other EU governments to support Turkey in its efforts to join the EU only when it gives a gene ral amnesty to all Kurds living in exile, allowing them to return to their homes. Turkey must release at once all Kurdish and other political prisoners. The recognition of the national rights of the Kurds and other ethnic and religious groups must also be anchored in a new and democratic constitution. Turkey must finally arrange for the return of some 1.5 million Kurdish displaced persons – 378,000 of whom are registered as refugees – and set up a realistic programme of reconstruction for the 3,428 destroyed Kurdish villages. Turkey is urgently called upon to recognize the atrocities of the past and to clear these up in complete openness. In this connection and in the light of recent events the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) calls on Turkey, at long last to recognize the genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and the Kurdish Yezidi. The daily violence in Iraq is continuing. Particularly affected are hundreds of Christian and non-Muslim minorities, who have been and still are the victims of religious fanaticism. The Annual General Meeting of the GfbV demands: 1. Humanitarian aid for the Iraqi Christians, Yezidi and Mandaeans and 2. Markedly increased political efforts aimed at the protection of these minorities. 3. We call on the German government to provide effective assistance in the construction of a democratic federal state. The continuing emigration of the Assyro-Chaldeans from south and central Iraq endangers the culture, language and the future of this old people. For this reason the political, cultural and national demands of the Assyro-Chaldeans must be fulfilled. In the north of Iraq, in the federal state of Kurdistan, the security situation is quiet. The GfbV welcomes the fact that the Assyro-Chaldean refugees are accepted there. However the policies of the Foreign Office, whose warning concerning travel to the whole of Iraq is still operative, is blocking the reconstruction and investments of German firms, which are guided by this recommendation. For this reason the Annual General Meeting of the GfbV calls for the lifting of the travel warning for northern Iraq this year also. The Annual General Meeting calls also for the German government to participate in the measures for the return home of victims of the regime of Saddam Hussein. This support applies to all returning refugees, such as Shiites in the south, Kurds in the north, and Assyro-Chaldeans, Yezidi, Marsh Arabs, Turkmens, Mandaeans, Shabak and other minorities. The situation of the Kurds and other ethnic groups has not improved in Syria and Iran either. On the contrary, the measures being taken by the regimes in Damascus and Teheran against these ethnic groups are more inhuman still. In many press releases the GfbV has called on those in power in Syria to end the persecution of the Kurds and other minorities and to grant all ethnic groups the legal framework conditions to enable them to practise freely their national culture.