US calls on Turkey to cease human rights abuses, restore democracy

A member of the Delegation of the United States to the UN Human Rights Council in an address during the organization’s 37th session in Geneva called on Turkey to investigate all credible allegations of torture made since a coup attempt in July 2016, end an ongoing state of emergency declared after the failed coup, restore democracy and the rule of law, respect individual freedoms and cease the arbitrary detentions of government critics.

“The United States categorically condemns all acts of torture and calls on Turkey to act on its obligations and commitments, investigate all credible allegations of torture and hold accountable any individuals found responsible for such acts. Due to the potential risk of ill treatment, we also call on Turkey to end the protracted state of emergency, commit to restoring democracy and rule of law and to respecting individual freedoms and cease the arbitrary detentions of government critics,” said Jason Mack, the US’s deputy permanent representative to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“Unfortunately since the end of my visit [Nov. 28-Dec. 2, 2016] and particularly in the past few months, the number of allegations submitted to my office regarding ill treatment suffered by suspected supporters of the coup has been on the rise again, allegedly with the aim of forcing confessions which might justify the previous mass arrests,” Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, told the same session.

A comprehensive report, released in October by the Platform for Peace & Justice (PPJ) on prison conditions in Turkey under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, has exposed widespread human rights violations and inadequate facilities in 72 out of 80 prisons in the country.

People in Turkey accused of links to terrorism or with the 2016 military coup attempt have been tortured in police custody while others have been abducted, amidst growing evidence of detention abuses, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on Oct. 12.

The Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) on Dec. 9 said 2,278 people were tortured and 11 abducted in Turkey during the first 11 months of 2017. (

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