International Women’s Day Statement

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By Peace in Kurdistan Campaign:

‘Women, reborn to freedom, will amount to general liberation, enlightenment and justice in all institutions of society…the 21th century “must” be the area of awakening, the era of the liberated, emancipated women’ – Abdullah Ocalan

On International Women’s Day, 8 March 2016, Peace in Kurdistan campaign stands alongside all Kurdish women, across Kurdistan and in the diaspora, who are engaged in the struggle for Kurdish liberation and their just democratic rights. Peace in Kurdistan campaign also expresses its solidarity with the millions of women fighting for social justice, women’s rights and freedom from state violence who are so often at the forefront of global liberation movements.

At this critical historical juncture with the Kurdish-Turkish conflict re-ignited for political gain by the mendacious regime headed by President Erdogan and with the suspension of peace talks between the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and the Turkish government, the struggle of the Kurdish people for their genuine liberation remains as urgent as ever. In the face of systematic violence and state oppression, Kurdish women’s voices and activism are among the loudest and most fearless of the mass popular movement that has emerged over recent decades.

Women politicians have been deliberately targeted during the conflict, for example, the three Kurdish women HDP activists who were killed by bullet wounds to their heads, during a curfew in Silopi in January of this year. They were well respected in their community for their involvement in democratic politics for many years.

The HDP’s co-leader Figen Yuksekdag stated, “The targeting of three women in the vanguard of the resistance was not a coincidence. They targeted the freedom struggle of all women.” These murders were reminiscent of the brutal assassinations of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Digan and Leyla Soylemez in Paris in 2013, all inspiring women who had been prominent in Kurdish women’s dual fight against patriarchy and against Turkish State’s repression of their cultural, language and political rights.  Confronting both state and gender violence takes immense courage; these formidable women have never failed to demonstrate their ability to rise to the challenge and their example inspires others to emulate them now and in the future.

In Kobane we salute the women who are central, alongside their male comrades, in the struggle against patriarchy, the onslaught of the Turkish state and Daesh (ISIS). We hail their courage in the struggle for the creation of an inclusive, gender balanced democratic society. Their self-administration has become a model for all peoples emerging out of conflicts and who are seeking to rebuild a new society founded on social justice for all.

The Kurdish Women’s Movement stands as an inspiration to women and girls across the world, because it is in Rojava, as in the broader Kurdish movement, that women can be seen to be playing an equal role at every level of both civilian life and political organisation and we sincerely honour their remarkable energy, fortitude and courage as we celebrate International Women’s Day.

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

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