FULLERTON : Kurdish Congress to Discuss Rights

More than 100 delegates of the Kurdish National Congress of North America will meet this weekend to discuss human rights violations they say are taking place daily against Kurds in Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria.

The two-day conference, which will be attended by representatives from the United States, Canada and parts of Europe, is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Griswold Hotel, 1500 Raymond Ave. The conference ends Sunday at noon.

Kurds are descendants of the ancient Medes and make up the fourth largest group of people in the Middle East. The number of Kurds in Southern California is growing, said Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, who will address the conference.

Other speakers at the conference include U.S. Rep. Jim Bates (D-San Diego), Magdaleno Rose-Avila, western regional director of Amnesty International, and Fullerton Councilwoman Molly McClanahan.

"It will be a learning experience for me," said Bates. "The Kurds have been the victim of gross human rights violations. In particular, the Iran-Iraqi war has been particularly hard on this group."

Rose-Avila said he will be focusing on Amnesty International's recent World Report to illustrate the severity of Kurd persecution.

"The Kurds have historically been the victims of harsh government oppression and human rights abuse," said Rose-Avial. "It was the Kurds who were the victims of chemical warfare during the Iran-Iraqi war. My daughter has a birthday party on Saturday, but I'm giving up a little of that time to address the Kurds. That's how important I think this event is."

For information, call Fouad Darweesh at (714) 778-6785 or Saman Shali at (714) 557-2969.

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