HRC45 Oral statement during the UPR outcome of Turkey

Press release

UN Human Rights Council – 45th session

UPR outcome of Turkey

29 September 2020

Madam President,

FIDH and its member organisation in Turkey, Insan Haklari Dernegi (IHD, the Human Rights Association) regret that the UPR process has not been the occasion for the authorities in Turkey to acknowledge and commit to redressing serious violations of fundamental freedoms and the protection of human rights under domestic law. All related recommendations have either been rejected or supported on the basis that they would already be implemented or that domestic law already ensures sufficient protection. Reports from civil society tell a rather different story.

Under the pretext of the fight against terrorism, free expression, as well as freedom of assembly and association, continue to be under attack. Many journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders remain behind bars based on trumped-up terrorism charges and without respect for their right to due process. The crackdown extends further to women’s rights, LGBTI+, environmental and labour rights defenders, defenders based in the South-East, as well as opposition politicians, including those of Kurdish ethnicity.

We are concerned that, while the state of emergency was terminated in July 2018, Turkey still lives under a de facto emergency rule, and that the judicial reform failed to address the system’s shortcomings and halt the judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of those who criticize the government.

We urge the authorities in Turkey to address allegations of human rights violations and ensure an enabling environment for civil society, where the rule of law and human rights are upheld, by:
• [ensuring that people in Turkey freely and effectively enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms – including freedom of expression, assembly and association -, as guaranteed by the Turkish constitution and international treaties and conventions ratified by Turkey;]
• halting judicial and other forms of harassment against human rights defenders and;
• immediately releasing those who are arbitrarily detained, free of charge, including human rights lawyers Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Selçuk Kozağaçlı, and many other detained members of the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) and the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD).

We also call on the Human Rights Council to follow-up on key issues raised during the UPR process, with a view to ensuring accountability and genuine reforms in Turkey.

I thank you.

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