🔴 International organisations have once again called for the freedom of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan during a two-day conference hosted in South Africa.#FreedomForAbdullahOcalan | #Africa | #PKK | #TwitterKurdshttps://t.co/dDCl3krqkN pic.twitter.com/VK8WV1kJKI
— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) March 2, 2023
Participants of a two-day international conference, held in South Africa’s legislative capital city of Cape Town to discuss peace and stability in the world, concluded on Wednesday that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, currently serving a life sentence in Turkey’s İmralı Island Prison, would play a critical role in bringing and maintaining the peace in the Middle East.
At the conference organised by the Syrian Initiative for the Freedom of Öcalan and the Kurdish Human Rights Working Group under the name ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan’, representatives of several international organisations discussed various topics in panels that spanned two days, such as the democracy struggle in Africa, the Kurdish freedom movement, women’s quest for liberation, democratic autonomy and the question of peace and justice.
During the conference, Cameron Dugmore, representative of the African National Congress (ANC), the freedom movement identified with Mandela, said that the ANC would support the Kurdish people’s struggle in the international arena.
Albie Sachs, a former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, said that the revolutionaries and democrats in South Africa identified the struggle of the Kurdish people with the struggle of Mandela. “Some fights take time to win,” he said, adding that the struggle should not be abandoned.
Essa Moosa, a former Supreme Court judge and the founder of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) who played an important role in the anti-apartheid struggle, was referring to Öcalan’s analysis of women’s liberation and his writings about democratic confederation, according to Mansoor Jaffer, a journalist who was a fellow of Moosa.
The way Öcalan’s democratic confederation paradigm was implemented in north and east Syria served as an important example for people around the world, Jaffer told Erem Kansoy from Medya Haber TV.
Discussants stressed that the current detention regime in Turkey was contrary to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known as Nelson Mandela Rules, as well as international law and called for an end to the absolute isolation imposed on Öcalan, who had not been allowed access to his lawyers or his family for two years.
Since anti-apartheid activist and politician Nelson Mandela, who had fought against institutionalised racial segregation and served 27 years in prison, became the president of the country in 1994, “the international community has looked to South Africa to play a leading role in championing values of human rights, democracy, reconciliation and the eradication of poverty and under-development,” as the country’s foreign policy white paper states.
Based on this, the participants called on the South African government “to support the cause of the Kurdish people in their struggle for freedom, dignity, democracy and human rights.”
The testimonies of Kurdish activists from Syria were also heard at the conference and it was concluded that all progressive political and social formations should pressure the Syrian government to begin talks with the Kurds, and the Turkish government to stop their attacks on Kurdish areas.
“We urge all solidarity organisations and the South African government to pressure the Turkish government to desist from its constant and systematic attack of Kurdish areas in the north and east of Syria and in northern Iraq with impunity, risking the lives of civilians, and building and maintaining bases and outposts in these regions,” the final declaration of the conference reads.