Click to read the article in Turkish
Working on human rights defenders at risk, the international human rights organization Front Line Defenders released its “Human Rights Defenders at Risk in 2017” report.
In its 24-page report, the Dublin-based organization spared a special chapter for Vietnam, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Turkey.
Especially the situation of 11 rights defenders, who were arrested in Büyükada, İstanbul due to a meeting about security of rights defenders, and then were released was explained. The trial of 11 rights defenders still continues.
Nature defenders Aysin Büyüknohutçu and Ali Ulvi Büyüknohutçu, who were killed in Finike, were covered by the report in the section of killed rights defenders.
Ranked among authoritarian regimes, Turkey was also listed along with Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine and Russia, which target rights of refugees.
“Journalists and lawyers were targeted”
Following evaluations took place in the Turkey section of the report:
- In Turkey, the repression against civil society that intensified after the 2016 failed coup d'état, continued in 2017. Through the wide-ranging use of state of emergency laws, the authorities significantly restricted rights to freedom of expression, media, assembly, and association, and targeted those engaged in human rights work. More than 300 NGOs were shut down and many defenders were imprisoned, lost their jobs or faced investigation.
- In July, eight HRDs from well known Turkish NGOs and two international trainers were arrested during a holistic protection training and charged with assistance to a terrorist organisation, marking yet another escalation of the clampdown. After more than three months in pre-trial detention, they were released pending trial.
- This case illustrated the absurdity of President [and Justice and Development Party Chair Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s purge against Turkish civil society, given that all the HRDs were well known internationally for their decades-long and non-partisan work in support of human rights.
- Approximatively 400 lawyers were sent to prison and almost a thousand others were placed under investigation. Turkey remained the top jailer of journalists in the world with 158 media personnel imprisoned, according to the Journalists’ Union of Turkey.
- Following waves of arrest, HRDs, journalists and academics continued to leave Turkey, significantly weakening the capacity of civil society to deal with the abuses taking place and to pursue justice for those affected. (AS/TK)
* Click here for the full report
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