Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG) Media Release:

Thursday 24 May 2012

KHRAG held its AGM at the District Six Museum in Cape Town on Wednesday 23 May, during which participants reiterated the call for the release Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and the extension of basic human rights to millions of Kurds in the Middle East.

About 70 people, many from a range of civil society organisations, attended the meeting, which was addressed by High Court Judge Vincent Saldanha.

Saldanha reflected on the oppressed status of the Kurds, the repression they faced and the complexities which a negotiated solution would present. He stressed the importance of South Africans expressing solidarity with the Kurds, given our own history of oppression and struggle.

Marcus Solomon, former Robben Island prisoner, spoke on behalf of the Solidarity Forum which included groups such as Friends of Cuba Society and the Palestine Solidarity Group. He urged collaboration between advocacy groups in order to strengthen their respective causes.

Messages of support were delivered by Dr Joey Moses of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) and Mandisi Mjoli of the Struggle Veterans Actions Committee.

KHRAG has consistently called for the release of Abdullah Ocalan and thousands of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey and the establishment of a just peace through negotiations.

“We are concerned about the heightened repression in Turkey which has seen more than 8 000 people being arrested and jailed, including workers, lawyers, youth, children and journalists”, said chairperson Judge Essa Moosa.

“We condemn the sentencing of Kurdish MP Leyla Zana in terms of repressive anti-terror laws, earlier this week,” he said.

“The Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr Erdogan, needs to move swiftly to end this wave of serious repression and make good on his claim in 2009 that he is committed to resolving the Kurdish question”, added Judge Moosa.

KHRAG has grown significantly in the last year, raising funds, producing a regular newsletter and running a signature campaign for the release of Abdullah Ocalan. In addition, KHRAG members have done much work internationally to promote the idea of a just peace for the Kurds. This included support for Kurdish media under threat of closure, the attendance of the trial of scores of Kurdish politicians on trial in Dyarbakir, Turkey and the hosting of delegations to South Africa, including a group of Kurdish youth.

The following people were elected to the KHRAG executive: Chairperson: Judge Esssa Moosa; Vice-Chair: Mr Matt Esau; Secretary: Ms Sakeena Bock; Treasurer: Mr Hoosain Adam; Media Co-ordinator: Mansoor Jaffer; Fundraiser: Beverley Joffe ; Signature Campaign: Azaad Bock

Issued by the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group, St. George´s Cathedral Office 4 and 5
1 Queen Victoria St, Cape Town 8000, South Africa

Email: admin@khrag.org                            Mobile: 079 3644737

Chairperson: Judge Essa Moosa (083 4148328); Vice-Chair: Rev Matt Esau (082 468 4189).