Human Rights and the Will to be free
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Long-Oppressed Kurdistan on Verge of Independence from Iraq

Long-Oppressed Kurdistan on Verge of Independence from Iraq | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

....But with the current takeover of much of Northwest Iraq by the terrorist “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shan” -- ISIS -- the Kurds were given the impetus to opt for total independence, as their Peshmerga warriors had repelled the ISIS terrorist invasion, while the Shiite-dominated Iraq security forces had fled, leaving their military weaponry in the hands of the terrorists. Despite the difficulties still facing the Kurds in fulfilling their long-standing dream of total freedom, they will not let this chance escape them. They are even planning to expand their shrunken borders to regain their full extend of Kurdistan, which they had originally claimed historically and traditionally.....

Spencer Haskins's insight:

An Independent, sovereign Kurdistan is needed now!

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Kurds declare autonomy in northern Syria ahead of Geneva II

Kurds declare autonomy in northern Syria ahead of Geneva II | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Syrians Kurds on Tuesday declared an autonomous administration in the northern part of civil war-torn Syria ahead of the international peace conference for Syria, according to news outlets. 

The administration in Rojava [the Kurdish name for northern Syria] is expected to be divided into three autonomous provinces – the predominantly Kurdish-populated territories of Qamishli, Afrin and Kobani.

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UNPO: Iranian Kurdistan: Deteriorating Human Rights Situation

UNPO: Iranian Kurdistan: Deteriorating Human Rights Situation | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

..."The talks are an opportunity to press the human rights case. The international community urgently needs to press for a moratorium on executions and encourage the relevant Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council to seek invitations for the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, to visit Iran. 

"Sustainable peace and stability in Iran and the Middle East can not be achieved as long as Iranian people’s human rights are not secured."

While the latest round of P5+1 talks was taking place in Geneva from mid-October, IHR has documented 90 executions. Fifty of these were carried out in ethnic areas of Iran or were members of ethnic minorities executed in central parts of the country. They included three Kurdish and 17 Balochi prisoners convicted of Moharebeh, enmity with God, which is a charge commonly used against opponents of the government.

Many other non-Persian political prisoners are also facing imminent execution, including three Ahwazi Arabs who gave forced confessions on the government’s Press TV channel allegedly following months of torture in the custody of the intelligence services.

Religious minorities also continued to suffer violent persecution while the world concentrated on talks over the nuclear issue. Following raids on 14 Baha’i homes in the Iranian city of Abadeh in October, residents were interrogated by government agents who told them to leave town or face being summoned the occupants for questioning and told them to leave town or they would be knifed to death in the street.

Christians, Alawites and Sunnis are also subjected to continued persecution and state violence in spite of President Rouhani’s pledge to allow greater freedom of worship.

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The Kurdish Awakening in Syria: Could It Lead to Regional War?

The Kurdish Awakening in Syria: Could It Lead to Regional War? | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
The Kurdish Awakening in Syria: Could It Lead to Regional War? A "Greater Kurdistan" is no longer a remote possibility.
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UNSC should condemn crimes committed against Kurds in Syria - Lavrov

UNSC should condemn crimes committed against Kurds in Syria - Lavrov | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

The UN Security Council must unambiguously condemn the reported killings of Kurds by radical forces, which try to establish an Islamist state in Syria, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Lavrov commented on Wednesday on the reported slaughter of 450 Kurd civilians, including more than 120 children, by the Islamist Al-Nusra Front.  

“This was not the first report of such a massacre, but the continued violence is going off the scale. Yesterday there was a new terror attack in Damascus. It must be stopped immediately,” Lavrov said. ....

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Human rights for Kurds in Iran: Discussion with UN special rapporteur

Human rights for Kurds in Iran: Discussion with UN special rapporteur | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
By Dr Amir Sharifi: Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group and a delegation meet Ahmad Shaheed, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in Iran On July, 19, 2013 a Kurdish delegation consisting of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group...
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Kurdistan: Pipeline to ‘Independence’

Kurdistan: Pipeline to ‘Independence’ | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

....

It was this first international sale that really re-sparked Baghdad’s ire. Baghdad views this as illegal oil and gas activity, but the Kurds—and foreign companies doing business in Northern Iraq—have shrugged off Baghdad’s multiple threats.

The Kurds have the advantage, even more so not that the rest of Iraq is engulfed in a sectarian conflict as it becomes the definitive second front in the war in Syria. Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki flew to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, to hold high-level talks. This hasn’t happened since 2003, and it indicates that the talks were on the Kurds’ terms, as well as their terrain.

Will Baghdad be able to stop the Kurdish oil and gas momentum? Not at this point. Once the pipeline is up and running, the game is over and Baghdad doesn’t have the resources to turn it into a conflict.

 

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UNPO: Iranian Kurdistan: Protesting Sexist Punishment

UNPO: Iranian Kurdistan: Protesting Sexist Punishment | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Kurdish men and women in Iran have cross-dressed to protest a ‘sexist’ punishment where a man was sentenced to be paraded down the street in female clothing.

Below is an article published by gaystarnews: 

Kurdish men from the Marivan County in the Kurdistan province of Iran have launched a cross-dressing campaign to redress outmoded concepts of masculinity and femininity.

Over the last week, over 150 Kurdish men have posted photographs of themselves in women’s clothing to campaign against the sexist nature of a court sentence which led to the public humiliation of a man by dressing him in women’s clothing.

The campaign, entitled Kurd Men for Equality is a response to a sentence given to a convicted man by the Marivan County tribunal court on 15 April. The campaign's tagline reads: ‘Being a woman is not a way for humiliation or punishment.’

According to Saman Rasoulpour, the convicted man was paraded down the streets of Marivan in a red tchador (traditional Kurdish women’s clothing).

Rasoulpour stated that public humiliation is a common punishment for troublemakers.

Rasoulpour told us: ‘[In] this way, authorities are able to both demean the accused and deliver a warning to the public.’

However, Rasoulpour emphasized: ‘This is the first time in Iran that an accused is paraded in women’s clothes in the streets to humiliate him. It is unprecedented anywhere in Iran.’

In response to the judge’s sentence, a local feminist organization of Marivan called the Marivan Womens' Community held a protest against the misogynistic punishment. The protest brought one hundred women on the streets of Marivan in a civil resistance campaign for gender equality....

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Kurds free Turkish captives in northern Iraq

Kurds  free Turkish captives in northern Iraq | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

SARGALI, Iraq (Reuters) - Turkish Kurd militants freed a group of Turkish soldiers and officials they had held in the mountains of northern Iraq for more than a year on Wednesday, the first concrete step in efforts to end their 28-year-old insurgency....

This operation is proof that we don't want war."

The release is an initial confidence-building measure in what is shaping up to be the most comprehensive effort yet to end Turkey's three-decade war with the PKK, a conflict which has killed more than 40,000 people.....

"We need to end the fighting and live like brothers. The Turkish government must make a step towards peace," said Adil Kurt, a pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) member of parliament among the Turkish delegation....

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Part of Kurdistan's Territory is in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria....

Part of Kurdistan's Territory is in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria.... | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

....

Akyol’s points were on the mark, provided if you read this part of it from the end: “The reason for this widespread Turkish sensitivity is not hard to see: The geographic area that historically has been called ‘Kurdistan’ is divided since World War I between four countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, the last of them having the largest share. Moreover, groups among Turkey’s Kurds have launched almost two dozen rebellions against Ankara in the past 90 years. This had led successive Turkish governments –and especially the bureaucratic establishment, which was politely called ‘the regime’ – to try to ‘Turkify’ the region.”

What I mean by reading from the end is this: “Because  successive Turkish governments — and especially the bureaucratic establishment, which was politely called ‘the regime,’ tried to ‘Turkify’ the region, that led groups among Turkey’s Kurds to launch almost two dozen rebellions against Ankara in the past 90 years.”

And I can add the following “As long as the identity of Turkey’s Kurds are denied including the avoidance of the K word, Kurds will never feel reconciled.”  Because the Turkish allergy to the word Kurdistan brings with it the fear of division of Turkey. For Kurds, this means rejections of their quest and demands for equality.

The problem with the word ‘’Kurdistan’’ is not solvable by citing claims that the borders are not precisely defined, therefore it has the potential of causing problems in the Turkish administrative structure.  While there is Kurdistan in Iraq, a province with that name in Iran was allowed to keep it both under monarchy and then the Islamic Republic, there is now the possibility of another one emerging in Syria, to think that there has never been an area called Kurdistan in Turkey only attributes sacrosanctity to the superficial, illogical and abnormal borders drawn after World War I to define Turkey’s southern frontier.

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Spencer Haskins's comment, March 3, 2013 6:22 AM
Correction: SOME of KURDISTAN'S territory is in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria.......
Spencer Haskins's comment, March 3, 2013 6:26 AM
Would the Turks tolerate being 'Kurdified' ?! Cultural assassination is a terrible regime policy!
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Kurds still pushing for independent Kurdistan

Iraq's Kurds, part of the world's largest stateless ethnic group, are pushing closer to what has long seemed the impossible dream of independence.

But deep rivalries between their two main factions, which in the past led to civil war, could wreck an alliance that over the last decade has put semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdistan on the threshold of statehood.

...

"The underlying rifts between the two parties will widen as a broader competition intensifies between Turkey and Iran."

As has happened in recent decades, Iraq's neighbors, with restive Kurdish minorities of their own, have encouraged the differences between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan to ensure that no independent Kurdish state emerges in Iraq.

Iraq has some 4.5 million Kurds but there are another 25 million spread over Turkey, Iran and Syria.

Stratfor noted that "in these tougher times, the cohesion of the KRG will be tested" as competing outside powers seek to exploit the divisions between the KDP, led by Massoud Barzani, currently president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the PUK, headed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

The PUK draws its strength from the urban left in Kurdistan's secular southwest bordering Iran, with which Talabani has frequently allied himself.

The KDP is more tribal and conservative, long dominated by the Barzani family whose iconic patriarch Mullah Mustafa, Massoud's late father, waged a separatist guerrilla war against Baghdad from the 1950s.

The party controls the northwest of mountainous Kurdistan, which borders Turkey, long hostile to the Iraqi Kurds but now their unlikely ally.....




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Kurds, Turks Vow to Continue Talks Despite Killings

Kurds, Turks Vow to Continue Talks Despite Killings | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

ISTANBUL — In Turkey, Kurdish and Turkish politicians alike say the killing in Paris of three Kurdish rebel activists should not derail efforts to end the decades-long conflict between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebel group and the Turkish state. Those efforts appear to have already achieved significant political momentum.

While Kurdish and Turkish politicians differ on who they believe was responsible for killing the Kurdish activists in Paris on Thursday, there is consensus that the murders should not undermine government efforts to bring to an end the nearly three-decade conflict with the PKK...

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Will there be an independent Kurdistan?

Will there be an independent Kurdistan? | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

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Could it be that the “Kurdish question” has reached another critical stage in its history, one that is intimately bound up with the region-wide cataclysm that is the “Arab Spring”?

The Kurds’ destiny has always been shaped less by their own struggles than by the vagaries of regional and international politics, and the great Middle Eastern upheavals they periodically produce. With World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Britain and France promised the Kurds a state of their own, but then reneged. They fetched up as minorities, more or less severely repressed, in the four countries — Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria — among which their vast domains were divided. They repeatedly rebelled, especially in Iraq. But their rebellions were always crushed, the last one, under Hussein with the genocidal use of gas.

But the Kurds never ceased to dream of independent statehood......

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Iran: Kurds Tortured, Hanged: Zainab Jalaian and Mansur Arvand

Iran: Kurds Tortured, Hanged: Zainab Jalaian and Mansur Arvand | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

...The Kurdish people, one of the largest minorities in Iran, have been heavily targeted by the Islamic Republic since its 1979 inception when Ayatollah Khomeini famously declared a "fatwa" [religious decree] against the province of Kurdistan and crushed opposing unrest by sending 110,000 troops complete with heavy artillery, fighter jets and armed helicopters. The fighting was so intense that residents were forced to flee into the harsh mountains. Kurdish men have been executed, dozens at a time.....

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Break the Silence on Honor Killing

Break the Silence on Honor Killing | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

'...

It is time the older generation in Kurdistan understands that development does not only show in wealth or wellbeing. It also shows in respect for women. That now women study, graduate and work, and that marriage and children are not their whole lives anymore is to be respected.

It is a clash of generations, and of modernity and tradition. You cannot prevent that clash, but you can try to make people realize that the rules have changed, that society can no longer agree to women being forced into marriages and killed because they threaten the honor of the family....'

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Iraq Finds Mass Grave in Kurdistan..... #Chemicalweapons

Iraq Finds Mass Grave in Kurdistan..... #Chemicalweapons | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

The al-Anfal Campaign also known as the Kurdish Genocide, Operation Anfal or simply Anfal, was a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people (and other non-Arab populations) in Northern Iraq, led by Baathist Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as Chemical Ali, in the final days of Iran-Iraq War (1980-88).

The campaign started in 1986 and culminated in 1988.

In all nine Anfals were conducted, ending on August 26, 1988. On September 6, 1988 the government declared a general "amnesty" for Kurds, although many continued to be held - and die - in the camps and prisons.

Human Rights Watch said 2,000 villages were destroyed, as well as dozens of towns and administrative centers, including Qala Dizeh which had had 70,000 residents.

Majid and two other former top Baath officials were sentenced to death for their part in the campaign on 24 June 2007, nearly six months after Saddam's execution for other crimes. Two other officials received life sentences.

In the context of the campaign, Iraq became the first government to use chemical weapons against its own people.

It dropped mustard gas and sarin on rebel areas, with heavy loss of civilian life, as early as April 1987 - according to Human Rights Watch.....

Spencer Haskins's insight:

...and America was allied with Saddam Hussein and supported his actions the entire time.......   Total lies and hypocrisy now in Syria!

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It’s time for a free and independent Kurdistan

It’s time for a free and independent Kurdistan | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Why not? The Kurds out number Palestinians several times over, and unlike Palestinians, have a real ethnic and cultural distinction from surrounding Arabs (and in Turkey, Turks).
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Kurds could help shift course of war in Syria

Kurds could help shift course of war in Syria | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

...

"Kurds can be effective in Syria, and we need to increase support for them. Western countries, including the United States, should establish proper ties with Syria's Kurds."

Turkey is one of the strongest backers of the rebels seeking to topple Assad in a war that has claimed more than 100,000 lives since March, 2011.

Syria's ethnic Kurdish minority has been alternately battling Assad's forces and the Islamist-dominated rebels for control of parts of the north....

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Thousands march in Istanbul in solidarity with Kurds

Thousands march in Istanbul in solidarity with Kurds | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Thousands of protesters marched to Istanbul's Taksim Square on Saturday chanting slogans against the government and police after security forces killed a Kurdish demonstrator in southeastern Turkey.

The protest had been planned as part of larger unrelated anti-government demonstrations that have swept through the country since the end of May, but became a voice of solidarity with the Kurds after Friday's killing.

"Murderer police, get out of Kurdistan!" some protesters chanted. "This is only the beginning, the struggle continues. The murderer state will pay!"

Turkish forces killed the man and wounded 10 others when they fired on a group protesting against the construction of a gendarmerie outpost in the Kurdish-dominated region.

The incident, in the Lice district of Diyarbakir province, appeared to be the most violent in the region since a ceasefire declaration in March by jailed Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan in a decades-old conflict between his fighters and the Turkish state, and it risks derailing the nascent peace...

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Turkey: 'World's biggest prison' for media

Turkey: 'World's biggest prison' for media | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Istanbul, Turkey - Former Noble Peace Prize nominee Ragip Zarakolu says he's been charged with crimes against the state more than 70 times in his life. But those experiences didn't prepare the Turkish publisher and journalist for his latest stint behind bars.

Zarakolu spent six months last year in a Turkish high-security prison on terrorism-related charges before being released pending trial in April. If convicted, he could spend up to 15 years in jail.

"There was no [physical] torture but without [a real] reason to be arrested, it was torture to be treated like a terrorist. Everyone is looking at you like you're a monster," Zarakolu told Al Jazeera from a café near his home in Istanbul.

Zarakolu was among hundreds of others across Turkey - including lawyers, politicians, students, activists and other journalists - accused of belonging to, or aiding, an illegal organisation: the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), which the Turkish government views as the urban branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"This was the first time I went to a civilian prison and an anti-terror prison. It was a shock for me. It's unjust and there is no reason. My arrest was state terror," the 65-year-old said.....

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Peace hopes for Kurdistan –

Peace hopes for Kurdistan – | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

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The Kurdish conflict is one of the most significant issues of its kind remaining in the world. I’ve written about it a few times before – see hereand here, for example. The Kurds are no obscure minority group; there are upwards of 30 million of them (maybe about half in Turkey, or about a fifth of that country’s population), with a long and distinctive history. If they are not entitled to self-determination, it’s hard to see why anyone should be.

It’s also a big issue for Turkey’s ambition to be recognised as a modern developed state, and in particular for its aim of joining the European Union. Not surprisingly, the EU doesn’t look kindly on the idea of banning election campaigning in a particular language, or any of the other attempts that have been made over the years to forcibly assimilate the Kurds (or “mountain Turks”, as they were once officially called) and deny their cultural distinctness....

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UNPO: Iraqi Kurdistan: In Seek Of Genocide Recognition

UNPO: Iraqi Kurdistan: In Seek Of Genocide Recognition | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

ate last month [February 2013], the British parliament recognized the genocide committed against the Kurdish population under the former Iraqi regime. This recognition was widely welcomed by Iraq’s Kurdish parties, which seek to gain complete international recognition for the genocide.

In December 2012, the Swedish parliament did the same and acknowledged that the Anfal Campaign amounted to genocide against Iraqi Kurds.

Kurdish efforts to gain international recognition of the massacres against them at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime date back to early 2008. At the time, Iraq’s parliament recognized the Anfal Campaign carried out by Iraqi forces in 1988  as an act of genocide against the Kurds.

Erbil, the largest city and the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, hosted an international conference in 2008 to inform the world of the genocide against the Kurdish people.

The conference issued a set of recommendations, which included the formation of a special committee that consists of the friends of Kurds in the West, in order to contact decision-making centers in the world such as the United Nations, the European Union (EU), the EU parliament, parliaments of foreign countries, the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and organizations and centers for genocide. It also sought to involve them in efforts to explain to the world that the Anfal crimes amount to genocide.

Kurdish officials repeatedly say that the Kurdish population in Iraq will not feel safe unless the issue gains international attention, to ensure that it is not repeated....

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Iraqi Kurdistan: Free Speech Under Attack | Human Rights Watch

Iraqi Kurdistan: Free Speech Under Attack | Human Rights Watch | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

(Baghdad) – Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should stop arbitrarily detaining journalists, activists, and political opposition figures, and end its prosecution of journalists for insulting or defaming public figures. The Asayish – the Kurdistan Security Agency – and police arrested without warrants journalists and others who published articles criticizing public officials, and detained them without charge or trial for periods ranging from several weeks to a year.

In what appears to be a blatant violation of the rule of law, officials in the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs have sought to enforce a proposed law criminalizing “insult” against religious and political leaders, even though the legal and human rights committees of the Kurdish parliament have so far blocked the law’s enactment. If passed, the law would be a serious violation of basic free speech standards in the Kurdistan Region, Human Rights Watch said, and could prevent investigative journalism and disclosures about high level corruption in the oil rich region.....

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The Dreams And Dilemmas Of Iraqi Kurdistan

The Dreams And Dilemmas Of Iraqi Kurdistan | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

....However, the victors of these two conflicts are the Kurds. Today, Iraqi and Syrian Kurds enjoy unprecedented autonomy from Baghdad and Damascus, and the prospects of an independent Kurdish state are real. Despite the Kurds’ gains, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), led by President Massoud Barzani, finds its semi-autonomous state in northern Iraq at several geopolitical fault lines. Barzani must tread carefully in this volatile region to safeguard the Iraqi Kurds’ interests while pursuing independence from central Iraq....

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Kurdish activists killed in Paris

Kurdish activists killed in Paris | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Three Kurdish activists - among them a co-founder of the militant PKK group - are shot dead in Paris, but no motive has yet been established.
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