Letter: Kurdish peace train plea

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The Independent Online
Letter: Kurdish peace train plea

Sir: As participants and supporters of the Musa Anter Peace Train initiative, we are deeply concerned by the statement by the Minister of the Interior of the Federal Republic of Germany that the train will be stopped at the Belgian border. This is a serious curtailment of the freedom of movement of citizens, enshrined in European Union law. More seriously, it obstructs efforts to secure a peaceful and just political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey.

Germany's decision encourages the Turkish state to refuse any negotiations with Kurdish political parties. To the Kurds it sends the message that Turkey has powerful friends in Europe who are more concerned about military and commercial links with a Nato ally than peace. By halting the Musa Anter Peace Train, Germany is helping to prolong the suffering of the Kurdish people.

The UK government should pursue within the European Union both the matter of the infringement of the rights of its own citizens and the EU's failed policy of gently persuading Turkey to improve its human rights record.

ESTELLA SCHMID; FRANCES D'SOUZA, director Article 19; CHRISTINE BLOWER, NUT President; DAVID MCDOWALL; Lord REA; Lord HYLTON; JOHN AUSTIN MP; CYNOG DAFIS MP; MICHAEL FEENEY, Refugee adviser to Cardinal Hume; TOM COX MP; RUDI VIS MP; JUDITH VIDAL HALL; Lord AVEBURY; HAROLD PINTER

London N4

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