An evening with women human rights defender Eren Keskin

Roj Women invites you to a panel discussion with one of the most prominent defenders of Kurdish and Turkish women human rights: Eren Keskin. Come and join the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Global Campaign!

Eren Keskin was one of the tens of women human rights defenders Roj Women interviewed as part of our research work on violence encountered by these advocates in Turkey (read the final publication ‘A woman’s struggle‘). Her tireless work has thrown light on the pervasive and widespread violence women endure under custody.


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Roj Women gets ready for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

An early event on 9 November will be followed by a workshop on 23 November. Roj Women is glad to work in coalition with various other Kurdish women’s groups to discuss the impact of war and militarization on women. All welcome!
16 days of activism against VAW London coalition event 2

End Sexual Harassment of Women in Custody

An article published by the Socialist Feminist Collective in line with Roj Women’s campaign to support women human rights defenders. Find out more about the plight of women human rights defenders in Kurdish regions at the hand of the State in our latest publication  ‘A woman’s struggle.
for annual report 2013
For some time now, mechanisms of oppression and regulation over our lives go against the life we wanted and longed for. We, women were at the forefront in the Gezi resistance for we were bound and determined to fight for our cause and press forward our demands. In the streets, we were exposed to a brutal form of violence, which we are actually acquainted with: police violence. We lost some of our friends during the resistance and some of us got heavily injured. We discussed for days about the unlawfulness of police violence and the destruction it caused. Meanwhile, government and state authorities such as the Police Chief, the Governor, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Prime Minister, through their statements, repeatedly revealed that they are taking sides with the police and therefore manifested responsibility for the violence. Even the mainstream media, otherwise overlooking the significance of the events, had to pay attention to the disproportional use of violence by the security forces. The leadership of the Gezi resistance demanded the resignation of those responsible for deaths, injuries and the abuse of rights but state authorities only symbolically dismissed a few police officers and released the murderer of Ethem Sarısülük.
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Women’s rights law no match for Kurdistan tradition

In June 2011, Iraqi Kurdistan passed a landmark law that criminalised female circumcision and domestic violence, but one year on, activists remain frustrated with its patchwork implementation.

Source: AFP

In what is a conservative society even by Middle East standards, the passage of the law last year was hailed by rights groups and NGOs as a major step forward after years of struggle.

The law punishes physical, sexual and psychological assault committed within the family, creates conditions for the protection of victims and mandates the establishment of specialised courts.

It also carries penal and financial punishments for those who promote or practice female genital mutilation.

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Solidarity to support women human rights defenders in Turkish Kurdistan

Women’s solidarity work crosses national, ethnic, religious and tribal boundaries and demonstrates what solidarity is.  

An article by Alexandra Lort Phillips, member of Roj Women’s Association

Women’s networks show us that solidarity means understanding, sharing information, developing understandings and agendas, meeting together, communicating, supporting each other’s work, raising awareness, taking action and working in unity.  Lessons from women’s solidarity work inform all solidarity movements; indeed equality rights are inseparable from gender rights.  In this article it is shown how women’s networks can cooperate effectively to complete work, in this instance a piece of research into gendered violations of women human rights defenders in South East Turkey in a context of political and violent conflict, framed by the long-standing feminist concerns about the legitimisation of surveillance, militarization and war.

In March 2011 four researchers representing a London-based women’s association, Roj Women, travelled to South East Turkey in order to interview women human rights defenders.

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20 Women killed in Turkey in October 2011

According to data compiled by bianet, 20 women were killed by men in October 2011. 22 women were wounded, seven women raped. From January to October 2011, a total of 226 women were killed and 93 were raped.

Source: Bianet

According to data based on reports in local and national newspapers and news agencies, a compilation made by bianet revealed that 20 women were killed by male perpetrators in October 2011. Two of the culprits committed suicide, one attempted to kill himself. One man surrendered to the police after the murder. Continue reading

Turkish court reduces sentences for men accused of raping 13-year-old

Human Rights groups have reacted with outrage after a Turkish court reduced the prison sentences of 26 men convicted for having sex with a 13-year-old girl because the victim had given “consent”.

Source: The Guardian

In a judgment this week, the court ruled that the sentence was based on the old Turkish penal code, under which rape of a minor could be punished with a minimum prison sentence of 10 years – unless the child consented. Continue reading

Mass Rape Case in Kurdish Turkey – Victims Absent at Court

The trial regarding the sexual abuse of four girls by 35 people in Siirt was postponed to 25 January. Defendant Kuzu, a former teacher of the girls, was caught and arrested last week. His file will be tried separately in December.

Source: Bianet

The trial regarding the sexual abuse of four girls at primary school age by 35 people for the duration of two years was continued in Siirt (south-eastern Turkey) on Wednesday (30 November). Ten of the 35 defendants are being detained. Continue reading

Women violence on the increase in South Kurdistan

Suspicious deaths, murders and suicides of women have run high in South Kurdistan, an absolute male dominant territory which doesn’t punish violence against women.

Source: ANF

The Committee for Struggle against Violence on Women has reported that 1,012 women have set themselves alight in the last three years in South Kurdistan where women live under the threat of slaughter. Continue reading

24 Women and 6 Men Killed in August

According to the monthly tally kept by bianet, 24 women were killed by males in August 2011. 17 women were raped, 51 wounded. The majority of violent incidents was observed in Istanbul, Izmir, Adana, Ankara and Antalya.


According to bianet‘s evaluation of local and national newspapers and news agencies, male perpetrators killed 24 men and six men in August 2011. Three of the culprits committed suicide, one attempted to kill himself. Continue reading