Petition Closed
Petitioning UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Save World Heritage on the Tigris River in Mesopotamia


35,317
Supporters

The tremendous cultural and natural heritage of Mesopotamia is in great danger due to the construction of the Ilisu Dam on the Turkish stretch of the Tigris River. Designed to impound an area of more than 310 km², it would impact the right to food and water of thousands of people in and around the planned reservoir as well as downstream. It also threatens precious riverine ecosystems hosting numerous endangered species, hundreds of archaeological sites including the ancient town of Hasankeyf in Turkey, as well as the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq.
We are deeply concerned about the impacts of the Ilisu Dam Project constructed on the Tigris River by the Turkish government.
This is why we ask you to sign this petition to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to urge them to take action against the construction of the Ilisu Dam.

The petition letter can be found in several languages: English, Arab, Kurdish, Turkish, Spanish

For offline signatures a Signature List can be downloaded here

Invite people to this facebook event

If you want to list your organization as a supporter, please write to petition@gegenstroemung.org

 

More information on the the Ilisu Dam Project and Hasankeyf can be found here:
Background text: English, Kurdish (Sorani)

http://m-h-s.org/ilisu/front_content.php?client=5&changelang=8&parent=&subid=&idcat=113

http://www.hasankeyfgirisimi.com/en/index-Dateien/unesco-file_engl.pdf

 

Initiatiators of the petition
- Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, Batman/Turkey, www.hasankeyfgirisimi.com
- ICSSI – Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, www.iraqicivilsociety.org and http://icssi08.ning.com/
- CDO – Civil Development Organisation, Sulaimaniah/Iraq-KRG, www.cdo-iraq.org
- CENESTA – Centre for Sustainable Development, Teheran/Iran, www.cenesta.org

Press Release of the Initiators: English, Arab, Kurdish (Sorani), Turkish 

 

 

 

Supporting Organizations
International
- CounterCurrent, Potsdam/Germany
- Berne Declaration, Zurich/Switzerland
- ECA-Watch, Vienna/Austria
- The Corner House, London/UK
- International Rivers, Berkeley/USA
- A Sud, Italy
- BankTrack, Amsterdam/Netherlands
- Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, London/UK
- Both Ends, Amsterdam/Netherlands
- BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany)
- CDCA - Centro di Documentazione sui Conflitti Ambientali, Italy
- CENI - Kurdish Women Office for Peace, Düsseldorf/Germany
- Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA), Argentina
- CIVAKA AZAD - Kurdish Centre für Public Relations, Germany
- Comnité de Solidaritat amb els Pobles Indígenes d´Amèrica, Barcelona/Spain
- CRBM – Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank, Italy
- Dersim Freiheitsinitiative, Berlin/Germany
- East-West Diwan, Köln/Germany
- ECA Watch Global
- EcoDoc Africa, South Africa
- Ecologistas en Accion, Spain
- Ecomujer e.V., Düsseldorf/Germany
- European Syriac Union (ESU)
- European Syriac Union Youth (ESU-Youth)
- Fairfin, Brussels/Belgium
- FIOM-CGIL, Italy
- Forum Umwelt & Entwicklung, Berlin/Germany
- Friends of the Earth, USA
- Garifuna people of Honduras, Honduras
- Green Watershed China
- Himalayan and Peninsular Hydro-Ecological Network-HYPHEN
- Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology (infoe), Cologne/Germany
- Insurrección Autónoma, Honduras
- International Accountability Project, San Francisco/USA,
- International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), Germany
- International Support Kurds in Syria Association - SKS
- Kurd-Akad - Network of Kurdish Graduates, Germany
- Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France), France
- MAD - Movimento armonia dinamica (Dynamic armony movement), Italy
- Mezopotamian Development Society (MESOP), Germany
- NABU – Naturschutzbund, Berlin/Germany
- Observatori del Deute en la Globalització (ODG - Debtwatch Spain), Barcelona/Spain
- Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH), Honduras
- Repsolmata, Barcelona/Spain
- Setem, Madrid/Spain
- Un Ponte Per, Italy
- Urgewald, Berlin/Germany
- Ver.di, Germany
- Water and Energy Users' Federation-Nepal (WAFED)
- Waterkeeper Alliance, New York/USA
- XNCA - Network for a New Water Culture Catalunya, Catalonia/Spain
- YEK-KOM - Federation of Kurdish Associations in Germany, Düsseldorf/Germany
- YXK - Association of Students from Verband Kurdistan e.V., Germany

From Turkey
- Allianoi Initiative Group, Izmir/Turkey
- Cilo Nature Association, Hakkari/Turkey
- Initiative to Conserve Culture, Cizre/Turkey
- Munzur Nature Activists, Dersim/Turkey
- Nature Association (Doga Dernegi), Ankara/Turkey
- Pasur Association for Conservation of Natural Life, Diyarbakir/Turkey

From Iran
- Alpine Club, Teheran/Iran
- Ardakan association for protection of ancient heritage, Ardakan-Yazd/Iran
- Bargah-e Mehr Association, Isfahan/Iran
- Center of Bargah Mehr, Iran
- Center of Chahar Sogh Kavir Ardakan, Iran
- Charsoogh-e Kavir Ardakan association, Ardakan-Yazd/Iran)
- Coalition of supporters of Isfahan's cultural heritage, Iran
- Culture Promotion organization of Great Iran, Isfahan/Iran
- Fars Green Center, Iran
- Friends of Heritage Afraz, Iran
- Green Mountain, Iran
- Iranian Cultural Association of Greater Columbus, Iran
- Iraninlogy's home of ancient age, Shiraz/Iran
- Iran Watchers, Iran
- Jame Jahan Tourism Institute, Isfahan/Iran
- Javanan Sepide Persian Society, Mazandaran/Iran
- Non governmental organization of iranian architects (design and
explanation), Iran
- Persian culture association, Aligoodarz-Lorestan/Iran
- The Afraz cultural heritage enthusiasts association, Tehran/Iran
- The Community of the Lovers of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of
Varzaneh, Varzaneh-Isfahan/Iran
- The House of Eternal Culture, Shiraz/Iran
- The Isfahan's Zendeh rood cultural heritage enthusiasts, Isfahan/Iran
- The Taryana Khuzestan Cultural Heritage Enthusiasts, Khuzestan/Iran
- The Toofa Shooshtar cultural heritage enthusiasts association, Khuzestan/Iran
- Women Society Against Environmental Pollution, Iran

From Iraq/Iraq-KRG
- Alsumaria Iraqi TV, Iraq
- Democracy and Human Rights Development Organization - DHDO, Iraq-KRG
- Development Now, Sulaymania/Iraq-KRG
- Green Kurdistan Association - GKA, Iraq-KRG
- Iraq national Library & Archives, Iraq
- Kurdistan Save Children - KSC, Iraq-KRG
- Kurdistan Inernational Youths Organization - KIYO, Iraq-KRG
- Nature Iraq, Iraq
- Sulyon, Sulaymania/Iraq-KRG
- Tomooh Organization for Social Development, Baghdad/Iraq
- Women Talent Development Organization, Iraq-KRG
- Youth Activity Organization - YAO, Iraq-KRG


 

Letter to
UNESCO World Heritage Committee
We address you gravely concerned about the threat posed to potential World Heritage Sites in Mesopotamia, a region of great cultural and natural importance which is endangered by the Ilisu Dam Project on the Tigris River.

This area is unique in many ways. It hosts great geographical, climatic and biological diversity. The step of transition from nomadic pastoralism to sedentary agriculture took place here. Thousands of archaeological sites bear testimony of dozens of cultures which intermingled here and provide the exceptional chance to gain further knowledge of humanity’s history. Nowadays the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, particularly Kurds, Arabs, Aramaeans and Turkmen, are the carriers of this worldwide unique cultural heritage.

However, the tremendous cultural and natural heritage is in great danger due to the construction of the Ilisu Dam on the Turkish stretch of the Tigris River. Designed to impound an area of more than 310 km², it would impact the right to food and water of thousands of people in and around the planned reservoir as well as downstream. It also threatens precious riverine ecosystems hosting numerous endangered species, hundreds of archaeological sites including the ancient town of Hasankeyf in Turkey, as well as the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq.

Hasankeyf, with a history of at least 10,000 years, is unique in being continuously populated from Neolithic times through Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages until today. It is a world class example of a site that combines both outstanding cultural heritage and natural landscape features. A recent study shows that together with the surrounding Tigris valley, Hasankeyf fulfils nine out of the ten UNESCO criteria for World Heritage Sites – a level reached by hardly any existing site. Should the Ilisu Dam be built, this heritage will be lost forever.

Owing to their outstanding value as the largest wetland in the Middle East and their function as a home to the 'Marsh Arabs' with their distinct 5,000-year-old culture, the Marshlands of Mesopotamia are on the Tentative List submitted by Iraq to the World Heritage Committee in 2003. After severe deterioration in the past decades, a major restoration program was started after 2003. The progress achieved is under threat now due to the construction of the Ilisu Dam.

Dear Committee Members,

We, the undersigned, urge you to assess the impacts of the Ilisu Dam construction on the World Heritage of the Mesopotamia region and to insist on the State Party to refrain from any action infringing upon any sites bearing the potential to become a World Heritage Site.

Initiators of the petition:
Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, Batman/Turkey, www.hasankeyfgirisimi.com
ICSSI – Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, www.iraqicivilsociety.org and http://icssi08.ning.com/
CDO – Civil Development Organisation, Sulaimaniah/Iraq-KRG, www.cdo-iraq.org
CENESTA – Centre for Sustainable Development, Teheran/Iran, www.cenesta.org