Another missed opportunity for human rights in Turkey, says IHD

“Punishments regarding women murders, violence against women, and murders of homosexual and transsexual individuals should be aggravated.”

Source: ANF

Injustice in legal procedures, violations of the right to a fair trial, deprivation from the right to access health services in prisons and detention houses, the rejection of the right to education in the mother tongue, violence against women, impunity of murders based on hatred and discrimination, the refusal to acknowledge the right to conscientious objection, proceeding without considering the demands of the Alevis, the destruction of the environment, losses of economic and social rights, interventions against the right to assembly and association…”

This is the list given by the Istanbul Branch Manager of the Human Rights Foundation (İHD), Adülbaki Boğa, concerning the year 2010 in terms of human rights. Boğa assessed the past twelve months as a “lost year”.

Boğa said that the İHD Istanbul Branch received a total of 480 applications related to rights violations in 2010. “A total of 730 people were taken into police custody [in Istanbul] in 2010, 98 of whom were women and 632 of whom were men”, he indicated.

“14 children died last year”

“Peace did not come in 2010 either. 14 children who did not share in any war lost their lives. The number of children who died from shooting, explosives, torture in police custody, bombing of villages or being run over by a combat car rose to 376”.

Boğa pointed to lynch attempts against Kurds in Hatay/Dörtyol (south-east) and Bursa/İnegöl (north-west) as well as to racism against Roma in Manisa/Selendi (western Turkey) and said that the year 2010 saw an increase of hate speech. He emphasized that the 2007 amendments of the Police Duty and Authority Law (PVSK) in fact “institutionalized” police violence.

Key points of the report

* The deaths of 20 soldiers were registered as alleged ‘suicide’ in 2010, most of them were Kurds, Alevi and socialists.

* 103 critically ill prison inmates are still waiting for their release. In 2010, 182 detainees applied to us in writing by reasons of physical violence and maltreatment.

* 38 journalists were continuously detained in 2010.

* Eight women applied to the association on the grounds of rape and domestic violence.

* Compulsory religious education is still being continued despite an according decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The status of Cem houses, Alevi places of worship and assembly, has not been recognized as places of worship.

* Discrimination of Non-Muslims was continued in laws and applications.

* The construction of about 2,000 Hydro-Electric Power Plants is being continued insistently.

* Oppression against socialist parties and publication organizations was being continued by bans and detentions regarding members of the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP), the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and executives of the İHD amongst others.

What needs to be done

Boğa summarized the necessary measures to put an end to human rights violations in Turkey as follows:

“Obstacles before the requests of the Kurds to use their mother tongue should be removed. The Kurds’ right to self-determination should be respected”.

“Compulsory religious education should be lifted and cem houses should be recognized with the status of places of worship. Laws have to be enforced against racism, discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes”.

“A new Constitution has to be worked out that grants fundamental rights and freedoms and that is based on human rights”.

“Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations should be amended immediately”.

“Punishments regarding women murders, violence against women, and murders of homosexual and transsexual individuals should be aggravated.”

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