The Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG), established in Cape Town, South Africa and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the largest of the country’s three main trade union federations (with 21 affiliated trade unions) issued a joint statement that they have launched a “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan for a just peace in Turkey” campaign.
The campaign seeks to encourage the United Nations (UN) to make a move to ensure the freedom of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan in order to promote peace in Turkey.
“Öcalan is the legitimate representative of the Kurdish people”
KHRAG and COSATU appealed for international support in their campaign. “We know that Mandela’s freedom paved the way to establish a democratic state in South Africa. The freedom of Abdullah Ocalan as the legitimate representative of the Kurdish people is essential to pave the way for peace in Turkey and the region. Our campaign is directed at the UN, which Turkey is also a member of. We believe that a co-ordinated international solidarity campaign can create the impetus for the UN to act”, KRAG and COSATU stated.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has interrupted peace efforts in the Middle East, North Africa, the Caucasus and Europe, KRAG and COSATU added. “Our key objective is to promote a just peace in Turkey and the region. President Erdogan’s authoritarian regime has, in the past few years, pursued an internal and external policy of expansionism and aggression”. KHRAG and COSATU added.
Letter to the UN
KHRAG and COSATU stated that an open letter had been addressed to the UN Secretary General António Guterres. The letter appeals to the UN’s Committee Against Torture (CAT) to urgently act against the prison isolation conditions in place on Imralı Island in Turkey, considering the results of the analysis report prepared by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) for the Council of Europe after a visit to Imrali Island in August 2020.
The open letter highlighted the fact that the UN helped to set up standards for the treatment of political prisoners, known as the Nelson Mandela Rules. It appealed to Guterres to ensure that these standards were also applied to Abdullah Öcalan. KHRAG and COSATU asked all supporters to send their letters of support to the Nations Secretary General António Guterres to the following address: Mr António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, UN Headquarters, S-3800 New York, NY 10017, USA.