International Initiative – Freedom for Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan


Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

12 January 2019

 We, the undersigned, call for an immediate end to the solitary confinement of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and other political prisoners in Turkey who are being held in gross violation of their human rights and of the norms of the internationally agreed-upon Mandela Rules.


Any form of isolation, also known as “solitary confinement”, is strictly prohibited under United Nations Minimum Rules of the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules) adopted by the UN in May 2015. According to these rules, 22 hours or more a day without human contact for a time period in excess of 15 consecutive days is deemed prolonged solitary confinement.

The prolonged isolation of Abdullah Öcalan on İmralı island prison, since his abduction in 1999, has continued for 20 years. The absolute isolation enforced on Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı island prison has entered its third year with no news from him. Meanwhile, since the abandonment of the Kurdish-Turkish peace initiative in 2015, Turkey has intensified its military war and political repression of the Kurds. The suppression of political parties and the jailing of Kurdish political leaders has become the norm as Turkish democracy has descended into authoritarian rule.

Leyla Güven, an imprisoned woman who is a Member of Parliament from the Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, started a hunger strike against Öcalan’s isolation more than 65 days ago. Since then, more than 150 prisoners have joined her on hunger strikes in solidarity. Meanwhile, 14 Kurdish politicians continue their hunger strike in the city of Strasbourg, France.

The number of people in Turkey’s prisons has now reached 260,000. Human rights organizations are reporting that human rights violations against prisoners are increasing. Isolation (solitary confinement) is one of the most severe of these violations.

The hunger strikes currently underway in Turkey by more than 150 people, are causing grave damage to the health of those undertaking the protests. We, the undersigned, are part of a growing mass solidarity movement that is calling for an end to the injustice of isolation.

As a matter of human dignity and human rights, we call for an immediate end to the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners incarcerated in Turkey so that these hunger strikes can end. We call on the international community to insist that Turkey abide by the Mandela Rules and take urgent action to enforce them.


Prof. Immanuel Wallerstein – USA; Prof. David Graeber – UK; Raúl Zibechi – Uruguay; Prof. Norman Paech – Germany; Prof. Andrej Grubacic, Chair Anthropology and Social Change Department CIIS, San Francisco; Denis O’Hearn, Dean of Liberal Arts, Professor of Sociology – University of Texas; Prof. Ana Cecilia Dinerstein, Department of Social and Policy Sciences University of Bath; Orsola Casagrande, Journalist; Alessandro Spinazzi, Italy; Salvadore Palidda, Genova University – Italy; Seamas Carraher, Poet and Writer – Ireland; JM Arrugaeta Historian and Journalist – Basque Country; Debra Werblud, Visual Artist, US; Victoria Sandino Senator FARC – Colombia; Alexandra Nariño FARC Party Executive – Colombia; Boris Guevara Film Director – Colombia; Angelo Baracca, University of Florence – Italy; Jesús Maria Aldaiturriaga Egia LAB – Basque Country; Emanuele Leonardi, Researcher – Italy; Giovanni Giacopuzzi, Writer – Italy, Lord Nicolas Rea – UK; Lord Dholakia – UK; Hywel Williams MP – UK; Tommy Sheppard SNP MP; Chris Stephens SNP MP; Jill Evans MEP; Julie Ward MEP; Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer of Political Sociology in the Department of Sociology – Cambridge University; Dr Derek Wall, Goldsmith University of London; Christine Blower, NUE International Secretary; Amber Huff, Researcher Sussex University; Margaret Owen OBE, human rights lawyer; James Kelman, writer; Dr Radha D’Souza, Westminster University; Les Levidow, CAMPACC; Nick Hildyard, policy analyst; Gareth Peirce, solicitor; John Hunt, journalist and writer; Janet Biehl, writer, translator; Rahila Gupta, writer, journalist; Simon Dubbins, International Director UNITE; Clare Baker, International Officer UNITE; Meredith Tax, writer; Prof Kariane Westrheim, University of Bergen; Sarah Parker, translator; Stephen Smellie, Deputy Covenor UNISON Scotland; Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU); John Smith, President of GFTU; Steve Sweeney, International Editor, Morning Star; Alastair Lyons, Solicitor; Dr Patrick Huff, Birkbeck College, University of London; Bert Schouwenbourg, trade union advisor; Trevor Rayne, Editorial Board of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!; David Morgan, journalist; Melanie Gingell, barrister; Jonathan Bloch, writer; Dr Felix Padel, writer; Maggie Bowden, General Secretary, Liberation; Robert Atkins, solicitor; Saleh Mamon, CAMPACC; Liz Saville Roberts MP; Penny Papadopoulou, journalist; Isabel Kaeser, PhD student, SOAS University; Greta Sykes, writer and poet; Gacheke Gachihi, Coordinator Mathare Social Justice Center, Kenya; Veronica Fagan, editor Socialist Resistance; Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation; Dr Naif Bezwan, scholar; Maude Casey, writer; Dr Aubrey Nunes, clinical linguist; Jack Hirschman, emeritus Poet Laureate of San Francisco, Agneta Falk, Poet and Painter; Catherine Taylor, musician; Luca Guzzetti, University of Genoa – Italy; Rossella Caruso, art historian – Italy; Roger Connah, writer – Wales; Giuliana Grando, psychoanalyst and psychotherapist – Italy; Joyce Kozloff, artist; Max Kozloff, writer and artist; Gioia Meller Marcovicz, designer; Piero Scarselli, academic; Dr. Dario Azzellini, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA; Sergio Tischler, Benemérita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, Mexico; John Gibler, writer; Dr. Dawn Marie Paley, journalist; Andrés Ruggeri, director Programa Facultad Abierta, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Dr. Gilberto López y Rivas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM); Peter Ranis, Professor Emeritus of Political Science City University of New York; Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, profesora Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana, Universidad de La Habana, Cuba; Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh, India; Christy Petropoulou, As. Profesora Universidad de Egeo, Greece; Dr. Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, Switzerland; Marko Ulvila, Tampere, Finland; Sarah Sexton, Nicholas Hildyard, Larry Lohmann, co-directors The Corner House, UK; Emily Andersen, photographer and senior lecturer, Nottingham Trent University; Alice Dalgobbo, academic; Flavio Chedid Henriquez – coordenador Solidariedade Tecnica – SOLTEC/UFRJ, Brazil; Emily Apple, journalist; Maxine Peake, actor; Darnell Stephen Summers, film-maker;  Valerie Mainstone; Kurdistan Solidarity Network; Brighton Kurdistan Solidarity; Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis, Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, the University of East London; Alain Hertzmann, UNITE the Union; Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru; Bruce Kent, Peace Campaigner; Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet; Engin Sustam, Academics For Peace, Turkey; Muzaffer Kaya, Academic for Peace, Turkey; Nazan Üstündağ, Academics for Peace, Turkey; Achin Vanaik, Retired Professor of ‘International Relations and Global Politics’, University of Delhi; Pamela Philipose, Senior Journalist, New Delhi, India Bodhisatwa Ray, Social Activist, West Bengal India; Sushovan Dhar, Trade Unionist, West Bengal, India; Avishek Konar, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global University, Haryana, India; Anish Vanaik, Associate Professor, Jindal Global University, Haryana, India.


For information contact:


International Initiative

Postbox 10 05 11 • D-50445 Cologne Tel: +49-221-1 30 15 59 • Fax: +49-221-790 76 10 30 •


Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question – Email: – Tel: 020 7586 5892 or 020 7272 7890