Police raid of NGOs offices in Diyarbakir - TUR 001 / 0112 / OBS 005

16/01/2012
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Association (İHD) about the police raid of the offices of its Diyarbakır branch as well as that of the General Centre of the Public Workers’ Trade Union (KESK), the Education Workers’ Trade Union (Egitim-Sen), the Kurdish Language Research and Development Association (Kurdi-Der) and the Solidarity Association For Prisoners’ and Convicts’ Relatives (Tuhay-Der).

According to the information received, in the early morning of January 13, 2012, the anti-terrorism unit of the police raided on the basis of an illegal search warrant [1] the offices in Diyarbakır of İHD, KESK, Egitim-Sen, Kurdi-Der and Tuhay-Der, in the framework of a wide ranged anti-terrorist operation intended to dismantle an alleged terrorist network - the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) [2] - that in fact targets peaceful activists from the Kurdish community who are not related to any terrorist activities, including human rights defenders and associations. The police confiscated computers found on the premises of all organisations. All were later returned except those confiscated in İHD’s offices.

The Observatory denounces the continuing harassment of human rights defenders and organisations in Turkey, and particularly İHD members, members of trade unions and those fighting against the impunity of serious crimes and calling for a peaceful resolution of the Kurd question, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities. To that extent, the Observatory recalls that several İHD members are currently in pre-trial detention, notably Mr. Muharrem Erbey, İHD General Vice Chairperson and Chairperson of its Diyarbakir Province branch who had been detained since December 2009, Mr. Arslan Özdemir, Ms. Roza Erdede, İHD members in Diyarbakır [3], Mr. Ragıp Zarakolu, Honorary Board Member and Founder of İHD and publisher, and Ms. Büşra Ersanlı, lecturer at the Marmara University Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations in Istanbul [4], members of associations of families of victims of abusive anti-terrorism policies [5] and lawyers [6]. Dozens of other human rights defenders remain in provisional release pending the outcome of criminal trials on alleged terrorism charges [7].

Accordingly, the Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to put an end to the continuing harassment against human rights associations and defenders and urges the Turkish authorities to stop raids and release all human rights defenders held in detention immediately and unconditionally, since their detention is arbitrary.

Actions requested:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Ragıp Zarakolu, Ms. Büşra Ersanlı, Mr. Muharrem Erbey, Mr. Arslan Özdemir and Ms. Roza Erdede as well as all other members of İHD, KESK, Egitim-Sen, Kurdi-Der and Tuhay-Der, members of associations of families of victims of abusive anti-terrorism policies and lawyers, and in general, all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Release immediately and unconditionally Mr. Ragıp Zarakolu, Ms. Büşra Ersanlı, Mr. Muharrem Erbey, Mr. Arslan Özdemir and Ms. Roza Erdede as well as members of associations of families of victims of abusive anti-terrorism policies and lawyers who are currently detained, since their detention is arbitrary as it only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Ragıp Zarakolu, Ms. Büşra Ersanlı, Mr. Muharrem Erbey, Mr. Arslan Özdemir and Ms. Roza Erdede as well as all other members of İHD, KESK, Egitim-Sen, Kurdi-Der, Tuhay-Der, members of associations of families of victims of abusive anti-terrorism policies and lawyers and, in general, all human rights defenders in Turkey;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Turkey.


Addresses:

· President of Turkey, Mr. Abdullah Gül, Cumhurbaskanligi 06100 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: +90 312 468 5026; Email: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr

· Prime Minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Office of the Prime Minister Basbakanlik 06573 Ankara, Turkey, Fax: + 90 312 417 0476; receptayyip.erdogan@basbakanlik.gov.tr

· Deputy Prime Minister Responsible for Human Rights, Mr. Beşir Atalay, Email : besir.atalay@tbmm.gov.tr, Fax: 00 90 (312) 422 13 98

· Interior Minister, Mr. Idris Naim Şahin, 06644 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95 / +90 312 418 7696

· Justice Minister, Mr. Sadullah Ergin, Ministry of Justice/ Adalet Bakanligi, 06659 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: + 90 312 414 62 26

· Foreign Minister, Mr. Ahmed Davudoglu, Office of the Prime Minister, Basbakanlik, 06573 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: +90 312 287 88 11

· Ambassador, Mr. Oğuz Demiralp, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Ch. du Petit-Saconnex 28b - CP 271, CH-1211, Geneva 19, Switzerland, E-mail : mission.turkey@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 734 08 59

· Ambassador, Mr. Selim Kuneralp, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Avenue des Arts 36-38, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50.

Please also write to the embassies of Turkey in your respective country.

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