To the Press and Public
Tevgera Jinen Azad (TJA) hosted an international conference titled “Chain of Silence: Breaking Down the Walls Around Women Political Prisoners” on 13 and 14 January 2024 in Amed. Women from South Kurdistan, Iran, Turkey, Canada, Palestine, Catalonia, Northern Ireland, Basque Country, Latin America and the Philippines attended and spoke at the conference.
On the first day of the conference, participants discussed the sexist, racist, colonialist nature of prison systems of the capitalist nation-states. Speakers and commentators made presentations based on their experiences in and of prisons.
In this context, the participants who shared their experiences stated that women who fight for their identity, freedom and political rights against colonial state attacks were imprisoned through judicial manipulations, and that they were forced to obey and give up their fights in prisons designed by the system with a male perspective.
The presentations on the first day revealed many common themes of prisons in different countries. In all of the speeches, women confirmed sexual violence was used as a method of torture, but it remained an issue that is often “untouched and unspoken”.
Participants said physical and psychological violence against women was not confined to one region or country but is a common practice for all the women political prisoners. Prisons are spatially designed in a manner contrary to women’s physiology and sociology, women are systematically isolated, their rights to health and communication are systematically violated and these practices are covered by a veil of silence, and it is essential to break this silence.
Women have transformed these oppressive spaces of imprisonment into spaces where they mobilize objection and resistance, where they continue to learn and develop. Women prisoners participate creatively in art, media, politics and social life even when in prison.
The women agreed that electrocution, rape, solitary confinement, bans on communication and disciplinary punishments are part of the attempts to break their will and force them to surrender. Women insisted that the struggle and solidarity should continue as long as these practices against human dignity continue.
The storied of women from all over the world inspired each other. Participants saluted the political prisoners who are on hunger strike November 27, 2023 in prisons with the demand for “Freedom for Mr Öcalan, who is kept under isolation in İmralı, and for a Solution to the Kurdish Question”.
On the second day of the conference, women participated in workshops on media and press, law and rights advocacy, the power of art and the mission of politics.After the conference sessions and workshops, the participants proposed an agreement on the following items:
- Establishment of an “international women’s network” with women’s organisations, intellectuals, artists, politicians and volunteers to make visible the rights violations against imprisoned women, raise awareness and ensure solidarity,
- Effectively using international media outlets to support the struggle and demands of all women political prisoners who continue to disobey oppressive governments around the world,
- As an alternative to domestic legal mechanisms, which nation states consider as useful manipulation devices, women should engage with regional and global entities (ECtHR, CoE, UN, AI, HRW, etc.) for exposure and awareness,
- Organising a global campaign for the liberation of all women political prisoners.
This is the second conference TJA holds for women political prisoners. Each conference led to a wider network of women and more awareness for political prisoners. Women’s solidarity will break the chains of silence surrounding political prisoners.
Jin! Jiyan! Azadi!
Tiocfaidh ár lá!
Zen! Zendegi! Azadi!
Tevgera Jinên Azad (TJA)