UN Human Rights High Commissioner complains over Turkey’s prevention of investigating human rights violations

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has complaint over Turkish government’s systematic prevention of investigations of human rights violations in Turkey and voiced deep concern at mass arrests and sackings of public employees in Turkey and the renewed state of emergency there, saying a “climate of fear” now reigned.

In early May, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein had told a news conference in Geneva and had stated that Ankara had to respond to violent attacks but must not violate human rights while doing so. “With such a large number, it is highly unlikely that the suspensions and detentions will have met due process standards,” Zeid had told journalists.

“Yes, the terror attacks need to be tackled but not at expense of human rights,” he had said. “And I’m very concerned about the renewed state of emergency which was undertaken in mid-April and the climate of fear in the country,” he had added.

35th Human Rights session of the United Nations Human Rights Council started in Geneva on Monday. Al Hussein has also touched on increasing human rights violations in Turkey in his openning speech and has said that “Unfortunately there haven’t been any development in the process since my speech here in September 2016. I regrettably must say there have been no changes. Our attempts at investigating the severe human rights violations in South Eastern Turkey are constantly rejected. And the number of people awaiting a fair trial is rising every day. As the number grows, it becomes more difficult to imagine just trials on this matter.”

It was reported that the Human Rights sessions will continue for 3 weeks and Turkey will be an important topic. In the second week of the sessions, there will be a special session on Turkey where a report prepared by the UN Freedom of Thought and Expression Special Rapporteur David Kaye will be read and the rights violations in the country will be addressed.

A military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.

June 7, 2017


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