New Report on Human Rights Defenders in Kurdish Regions of Turkey

Women's human rights defenders in Turkey take a grave risk by speaking out on behalf of women. State actors, such as policemen and soldiers, go to great lengths to silence these activists. A new report by the Roj Women’s Association, an organization dedicated to bettering the lives of women in Kurdish communities, notes that many of the attacks perpetrated against women's human rights defenders are becoming increasingly psychological in nature.

An earlier report from 2003 uncovered the primarily physical and sexual violence faced by women's human rights defenders. The latest report found that the attacks are occuring at a similar rate and continue to be gendered in nature, but that they are increasingly psychological and rooted in the concept of honor. These psychological maneuvers by Turkish security forces center on delegitimizing human rights defenders and their messages, playing off the culture of patriarchy and traditional gender roles.

The Roj Women’s Association recommends that the Turkish government, the European Union, and civil society address these cultural and symbolic deficiencies at the root of the problem. Recommendations include creating a legal framework, holding security forces accountable for their conduct, and committing sufficient resources in order to realize the goals of the Turkish National Action Plan for Gender Equality.

Compiled from: Turkey: New Report On Women Human Rights Defenders in Kurdish RegionsAWID, (31 May 2012).