IHD members urge Turkish authorities to stop human rights violations 

Members of the Human Rights Association (IHD) on Monday urged Turkish authorities to adhere to the rule of law and stop violating human rights, the Bianet news website reported.

In commemoration of the IHD’s 37th anniversary, members staged a demonstration in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square. Attendees held banners calling for freedom of speech and an end to juvenile detention, gender-based violence, torture and hate speech towards minorities. 

IHD Istanbul Chairwoman Gülseren Yoleri said in a speech that the association would continue working to prevent human rights violations in Turkey. “The IHD has been vocal about human rights violations in the country. Established after the 1980 military coup, the IHD has been pivotal in monitoring rights violations. In the IHD’s early years, torture, kidnapping, poor-prison conditions and the death penalty were some of the issues on the table. It has been the IHD’s core mission to confront such human rights violations.”

Yoleri added that 37 years later Turkey was still grappling with some of these problems, the biggest being the government’s suppression of freedom of expression. She pointed out that there were many people in prison for expressing their political views and for sharing anti-government content on social media platforms. 

She also said the Turkish judiciary was under immense political pressure. “We are living at a time when even judges don’t feel safe from government pressure, with many political dissidents behind bars on trumped-up charges.” 

Yoleri concluded her speech by saying it was often the most vulnerable members of society who suffered from political oppression. Drawing attention to Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, Yoleri said many women were under the threat of gender-based violence and femicide. Most often, the perpetrators walked free without any legal accountability. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued an executive decree on March 20, 2021 annulling Turkey’s ratification of the treaty. Turkey was the first member state to ratify the CoE convention.

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