Raife Aytek, Director of the Centre for Kurdish Progress

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"The struggles faced by the Kurdish people across the Middle East highlights the ever increasing importance of the work of the Centre for Kurdish Progress.

In spite of their troubles, the Kurds are an an optimistic people. Every year, Kurds celebrate Newroz which symbolises the coming of Spring. It is a celebration common to many cultures. It is a celebration of hope and happiness.

Each year, the Centre for Kurdish Progress celebrates with a Newroz reception in the British Parliament. This reception, like all the work of Kurdish Progress is for Kurds from any and all countries, to have a voice and a platform. It is also to help non-Kurdish people and the British public at large to better understand Kurds and Kurdish issues, and to allow friendships to form between communities.

Kurds right now once again find themselves in a difficult period. They remain a people without a homeland, a people abandoned by history.

Kurds are facing oppression by threatening forces in practically every country where they exist in large numbers. We are not seen as equals in so many countries where we have a large presence, even in Iraq where Kurds have autonomy.

In Turkey, millions of citizens have been neglected by the state. The Turkish state needs to take responsibility for the people under its rule. It cannot continue to subject people to such extreme deprivations of rights. I encourage you all to read the recent UN report on the conflict in Turkey.

We at Kurdish Progress are here to make the voice of the Kurds heard. We want to bring together Kurds from all different backgrounds. Through our events and seminars we want to help Kurds create new friendships and partnerships. We also want to explain the situation of the Kurds. And encourage more people to call for rights for Kurds.

We celebrate the fact that here in London and the UK we can live how we want. We can celebrate our holidays. We can speak our language. We can meet, we can organise, we can live. This is a great thing and I am grateful to this country for this. But this should not be a luxury. This should be the situation for Kurds and for all people all across the world.

I hope that together we can strive for greater equality, peace and democracy for Kurds and for all people everywhere."

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