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Category: Blog

BlogWomen’s Rights

Marching for Women’s Rights in London

Marching for Women’s Rights in London

By Asiye Betül

This year’s Million Women Rise march, themed against male violence was on the 5th of March. Exactly a year after the violent murder of Sarah Everard. The march started in front of the Charing Cross police station and ended in front of the New Scotland Yard. These locations were crucial to the protest, because as Sabrina Qureshi, the founder of Million Women Rise, said, despite the fact that we pay for the police to keep us safe and protect us, there are still to this day, multiple incidents of the police violence against women. The police continues on to ignore occasions of abuse of women. In short, the police keeps failing women.

Male violence cases have been surging since the start of the pandemic, and despite all attempts to improve the system, few women can find a remedy in it.

As the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee of Human Rights Society we decided to place a male embodiment of all news coverages of violence against women inside a cage. This was symbolising both the source of violence against women, and the kind of freedom we women would enjoy had this source been neutralized.

The male mannequin character had newspaper clippings covering male violence cases such as “I killed 17 women” and “Violent ex stalked women” around his body. This physical demonstration was one of the highlights of the whole march and got a lot of attention from many media outlets such as the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent.

This was our turn to say “Stop!” This was our turn to ask for justice, to claim back our long lost safety, right in front of those who deny us from it.

We asked them to “Stop the violence!” and “Stop the rape!”

Because women have had enough; because there will be no peace if no justice is delivered.

It was a cold Saturday in London indeed. We raised our banners up to the sky under 4 degrees Celsius, while our hands and legs were shivering. We embraced each other in order to keep warm; in order to keep safe.

The march ended with a rally in front of New Scotland Yard. Speakers and campaigners stood up against male violence and highlighted how racism, xenophobia and homophobia were the main causes of police brutality against women. The campaigners highlighted that “Enough is Enough” and women will not tolerate any more violence against themselves.

I was very honoured to be able to recite my poem “On Womanhood” during the rally. I expressed my worries on how while “boys will be boys, girls never get to be girls”. It was a moving experience for me to have amazing, inspiring and shivering women listen to me and support me by their ovations. I also received a few hugs from strangers by the end of my performance. It was truly an unforgettable moment.

With these feelings still warm and alive in my heart, I leave you with the poem:

On Womanhood

To be born into womanhood is to be born neck-deep into guilt.

It means to be a house haunted by shame.

It means to be a daughter, a mother and a sister – before a person, because boys won’t care unless you compare them to their birth givers.

It’s getting your screams and cries ignored, it’s getting your right to justice avoided – Because women bleeding doesn’t bother men unless it’s from periods.

To be a woman is to grow up earlier than boys, It’s getting told what girls do and don’t.

It’s being so aware that you are a girl, you forget you’re human. 

It’s having to accept when your mother says “boys will be boys, that’s what they do”,

Is that what boys will be? Will boys be boys? 

Will boys be rapists? Murderers?

Will boys be abusers and predators?

Boys will be boys

Boys will be boys, and girls will never forget to look behind themselves when they’re alone at night. girls will be girls instead of women, because even that is too much for a boy to grasp. a woman becomes a girl when her hands bleed from clutching her keys too tight. 

a woman becomes a girl in a boy’s eyes.

Boys will be boys. But, will girls be girls? Will girls be alive?

Girls never get to be girls, women never get to be women. 

And today we will stand and scream and make noise, for those who never got the chance to have a voice.

We’ll stand for the women in war. We’ll stand for the women of Ukraine, For the women of Palestine, the women of Syria, the women of Sudan!

For the women unlawfully detained!

Raise your voice for the Uyghur women of China getting ethnically cleansed!

For the women of Iran, the women of India, the women of Africa!

For the women whose rights are ignored!

Raise your voices for the women of Pakistan, the women of Spain and Brazil!

The women of the United Kingdom who were killed by the police!

For the women whose justice was never offered!

Raise your voices for the women who lost their lives to violence.!

For the women who never got their respects paid!

Let us all rise for our sisters all around the world! Let us ask for justice!

Blog

International Women’s Day: We Must Stand Up for Uyghur Women’s Rights

By Tasnim Nazeer *

This International Women’s Day, I call on the world to take a stand for Uyghur Muslims suffering persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang. There is an estimated 1 million Uyghur Muslims who have been forcibly put into concentration camps  in China and subjected to harrowing forms of human rights abuses.  Human rights organisations, activists and the UN have denounced the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang and said this is a definitive ‘text book example’ of genocide. 

Most recently, Uyghur female survivors who have fled Xinjiang recounted their harrowing experiences of abuse at the camps in a report published by the BBC. The heart-breaking accounts from Uyghur women who experienced systematic rape, torture, abuse and severe surveillance is beyond my comprehension. I believe that the world has enough evidence to hold the Chinese Communist Party to account for the injustice and human rights violations imposed on Uyghur Muslims. 

As a journalist, I have covered the plight of the Uyghurs for years speaking to many Uyghur exiles and those who have escaped from Xinjiang and others who do not know the whereabouts of their loved ones. Some of the people I have spoken to are mothers, wives with kids and women who feel broken by their experiences back in China. All they want is for Uyghur Muslims to have their freedom, to have their rights to practice their religion, to be accepted for who they are and reunited with their loved ones. 

The international community must step up and call for the action to be taken from world leaders and those who have the power and authority to make a change. Staying silent on the situation of the Uyghurs is to be complacent with the severity of the situation. Women have the power to make a change. These brave women that have come forward to tell their stories and expose the abuses that have took place in the concentration camps should be praised for their bravery and courage. 

Supporters of the Chinese Communist Party often crack down on dissenting voices or anyone who ‘dares’ to criticise their policies. I myself, have been trolled and emailed threats for covering stories of the Uyghur Muslims, but we must persevere in calling for justice and accountability. The power of these Uyghur women’s voices can help to make a change, can help to collate evidence and testimonies which China one day has to account.

The truth can no longer be denied. Genocide is taking place and must be stopped and it is up to every individual on International Women’s Day to support the rights of women around the world. Only then can we see a better world that is filled with justice and can stand up to those who choose to oppress, ensuring that they are made accountable through the eyes of the law. 

* Tasnim Nazeer

Articles & StatementsBlog

Francoist dictatorship and Turkey’s trajectory following suit.

Comparative study of the Spanish Governments failure in addressing the aftermath of the Francoist dictatorship and Turkey’s trajectory following suit. *

This article will explore and compare the impunity policies in both Spain and Turkey and the problematic notion this may represent when predicting the uncertain future of Turkey. This article will then further explore the poorly justified mass arrests of lawyers, judges and prosecutors in Turkey. In addition to this, the problems that arose with the government triggering of the state of emergency will be discussed.

Introduction 

Within recent years many lawyers and human rights activists have been subjected to targeted mass arrests within certain regions of the world. For example, in countries such as Iran, China, Turkey, Egypt, and Spain. While many individuals may describe these countries as ‘corrupt’ due to the concerning political problems in each country, others tend to be quite flabbergasted at the idea of the now-European union countries being highlighted as one of the countries that once upon a time, not too long ago violated human rights.

What is impunity? And when does it arise?

Impunity is defined as “the impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing the perpetrators of violations to account, whether in criminal, civil, administrative or disciplinary proceedings ‐ since they are not subject to any inquiry that might lead to their being accused, arrested, tried and, if found guilty, sentenced to appropriate penalties, and to making reparations to their victims”. This definition refers to impunity as avoiding the action of bringing the individual itself, who brought about the perceived “harmful, illegal, or immoral act” which requires specific investigative proceedings.

Principle 1 of the Updated Impunity Principles provides that impunity arises when the government in question fails to uphold their obligations of investigating the violations in question and thus failing to carry out the “appropriate measures in respect of the perpetrators”. States’ positive obligations arise out of international human rights treaties such as ICCPR and ECHR also require states to combat against impunity. States must ensure that “those suspected of criminal responsibility are prosecuted, tried and duly punished”. The state must further ensure that all victims are provided with a satisfactory remedy. The state must also provide the victims with reparation for the injuries they sustained from the events, which encapsulates both mental, and physical injuries. Lastly, the state must “ensure the inalienable right to know the truth about violations; and to take other necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of violations”. Therefore, it is evident that in the event of impunity arising, all individuals involved in the number of injustices must be punished, and the victims should be provided with support and reparations for the damage they sought.

Spain and the Francoist dictatorship

However, looking into the history of Spain, it seems as if these conditions set out by the Principle 1 of the Updated Impunity Principles were not upheld during the Francoist dictatorship. There was a lack of attention to the issues surrounding the Spanish government’s neglect in impunity policies. This has clearly been reflected in an unspoken ‘gap’ within Spain’s history and judicature.

The significant event that was followed by a whirlwind of issues began with the successful coup in 1936 led by General Franco. Franco was the General and the leader of the Nationalist forces. In this coup the General overthrew the Spanish democratic republic in the Spanish Civil War which lasted between 1936-39 which essentially ‘crowned’ him as the head of the state up until his death in 1975. Throughout the Francoist Dictatorship, there were a great number of crimes against humanity, where impunity should have been considered retrospectively. Over 130,000 people had disappeared and died in the extrajudicial execution, where individuals were executed in the absence of sanctions provided by judicial proceedings or court rulings. The extrajudicial execution would often target their attention to well-known political, religious and social figures. “700,000 people were held in concentration camps from 1936 to 1942”. Furthermore, 400,000 people were imprisoned for political reasons where a majority of these individuals were subject to torture and other cruel methods of treatment. Moreover, “500,000 people were exiled for their political beliefs”.

During this turmoil in Spain, the Spanish government issued a decree which stated that incarcerated mothers would be granted guardianship of their children in order to raise them up until the child reaches the age of three. After this age was reached, the authorities reserved the power to take custody of the child and were therefore able to remove the child from the guardianship of their mother. The authorities “would then change the children’s names” and then gave these children to families who were loyal to the new regime or to families that were willing to pay for a child. The rights of the non-conformists to the regime put forward by General Franco were stripped down, and this also affected their children as they were given new identities in the hope that it would ‘misplace’ their actual identities as the children of the incarcerated population and thus, use them to their own advantage to further their regime.

The ‘forgive and forget approach’

1975 was the year General Franco passed away. This was an opportunity for Spanish nationals to ratify a democratic constitution by holding a referendum in 1978, this presented a sign of hope for the victims who had first-hand experience of the damage which stemmed from the Francoist dictatorship. However, the Spanish governments approach to the process of democratization consisted of “silencing and forgetting” and in return they promised to “construct a new democracy”. The authorities urged the victims to just simply move on and pretend that such events did not happen, and to uphold a sort of ‘forgive and forget approach’.

This approach had created a number of issues for many reasons. Firstly, there was lack of consideration for Impunity Principles. Thus, no remedies were given to the victims. Those involved in the Francoist regime were not tried and punished. However, this should have been upheld under Principle 1 of the Updated Impunity Principles. The Spanish government also failed to provide the victims and “ensure the inalienable right to know the truth about violations; and to take other necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of violations”. This was evident in their suggestion to just ‘simply forgive and forget’ the past. Not only did this come as a shock to most citizens but also triggered many questions. This also made it apparent that these events would be of less importance, and thus left a gap in its history and judicature as the Spanish government failed to provide remedies for thousands of civilians.

The gap in Spain’s history and its policies

In 1977 the Amnesty Act was adopted, which granted amnesty for political crimes. The political prisoners were released, and those in exile were granted permission to return. Furthermore, in 2007, the Historical Memory Act was passed by the Spanish parliament to recognize and enhance victims’ rights. However, there was a lack of a transitional justice mechanism.

In February 2012, The Spanish Supreme Court issued decision 101, which prevented the possibility of investigating crimes committed against humanity between the years of 1936 to 1952 under the Francoist regime. However, Judge Garzon disregarded the amnesty act, he attempted to investigate the crimes committed during Francoist regime. The Spanish Supreme Court declared him not guilty, however the investigations procedure was prevented as “the right to know the historical truth is not part of a criminal process”. “A multitude of international judicial bodies has found that the crimes of the Franco period should be investigated”. Furthering this, in 2009, the United Nations human rights committee and the United Nations committee against torture recommended that Spain unearthed and identified the “corpses that remained hidden in mass graves and established an independent truth Commission to create a report on the human rights violations committed in the past”. The Spanish government failed to establish a transitional justice mechanism which would recognize and enhance victims’ rights and uphold impunity principles that would have presented the Spanish government as fair, just and reasonable country and thus uphold an apologetic and positive facade. However, they chose to cover up their wrongdoings by simply pretending it never happened.

Is President Erdogan the new General Franco?

The current situation in Turkey regarding the number of political prisoners and the mass arrests of individuals as part of the Gulen movement, Kurdish individuals in Turkey, political figures, religious figures, lawyers, judges and prosecutors and the list goes on seems to have many similarities as of Spain’s approach during the Francoist dictatorship. For example, considering the measures adopted by the Turkish government as an attempt to silence the individuals who they have identified as having ‘disobeyed’ or ‘criticized’ President Erdogan’s regime. This presents an uncertain future in terms of the solution for the ongoing issues in Turkey and sparks the fear that the acceptance of Erdogan’s regime could potentially create another gap which could leave thousands of individuals without a remedy and damage the judicature.

One way that it is evident that President Erdogan has clearly replicated Franco’s approach is through the mass arrests of lawyers. A few days after the attempted coup on the 15th July 2016, around 2500 judges and prosecutors were suspended and detained.

State of emergency? Or the ‘make it worse than it already is approach’? 

On the 21st July 2016, the state of emergency was declared, the rule of law was no longer considered. Thus, it was no longer part of the ‘solution’ of bringing Turkey back into a collected state. The act of triggering the state of emergency regime in 2016, seemed to have worsened the problems that arose within Turkey as the issues remained unsolved. During the State of Emergency, 125,000 civil servants including 4,000 judges and prosecutors were dismissed from their posts. Furthering this, 540,000 individuals were taken into custody with the assumption of being a member or affiliated with an armed terrorist organization. Since then, over 220,000 individuals have been sentenced for being linked to the Gulen movement which was identified as being a terrorist organisation and since then has obtained many derogative terms, such as “Feto”. Also, 1344 judges and prosecutors and 441 lawyers have been convicted for membership of an armed terrorist organization, while 1600 judges and prosecutors and some 500 lawyers are still on trial. In addition to this, 27 deputies and more than 90 mayors have been detained or suspended. Furthering this, 4,000 entities have been closed and confiscated without providing any form of compensation. Roughly 150 of media outlets were shut down in an attempt to silence the country from exposing the negative effects of Erdogan’s regime. For those that were identified as being a member of the ‘terrorist organization’ were a victim of their private properties worth of 32 billion USD being seized, this included schools, hospitals, houses and so on. In their press statement, The Human Rights Watch emphasized that “the abusive mass arrest of Turkish lawyers damages the rule of law and blatantly seeks to identify lawyers with the alleged crimes of their clients in violation of international law”.

One case that clearly depicts the issues surrounding the problems of the government triggering the state of emergency is the case of Elçi and others v. Turkey. This case was regarding allegations of torture. The applicants were practising lawyers in a critical political case. Due to the nature of their work they were arrested and both the offices they worked in and their homes were searched by the police and files of applications to Strasbourg ECtHR were seized. However, the government justified their harsh approach by emphasising that they were obliged to this as they provided consultancy services to defendants who were identified as possible PKK members.

On the other hand, “the applicants claimed that the reason for this interference was that they were human rights activists and practising lawyers in important political lawsuits”. The ECHR identified this case as violating the rights of the lawyers in an unjust manner during their practices during a state of emergency. The ECHR highlighted that even during the state of emergency the lawyer’s activities should be non-derogable. Therefore, suggesting that lawyers should be untouchable, no matter who they are defending or giving legal advice to.

Furthering this, another case which dealt with the issue surrounding the act of searching lawyers’ offices and seizing their documents in their offices was brought before the TCC in the case of Günay Dağ and others application. Osman Paksüt, who is the member of the Court summarised that although searching offices may be necessity in a democratic society, this act may not be justified as it was done by breaking the door during the night. “Therefore, interference with the confidentiality of the private life and inviolability of the domicile of the applicants cannot be defined as proportionate”. Overall, Paksüt implies that although it is wrong to break doors and search offices in the middle of the night, it may not be wrong to do this during the day. However, this judgement did not uphold the criteria the ECHR as there was a lack of explanations in terms of proportionality within Paksüt’s judgement. Therefore, it may suggest that lawyers who deal with similar clients that could potentially be a political prisoner or an individual who was unjustly linked to an organization with no evidence, may have to consider whether they will be encountering similar injunctions as the government seems to be taking many forms of action in order to threaten and silence anyone wo tries to defend the unjustly convicted individuals.

Turkish government’s response and justifications to the mass sacking and arrests of lawyers and identical examples from Egypt

As a response to the mass sacking and arrests of lawyers, the Turkish government responded by hiring 10,000 AKP authorized judges and prosecutors to misplace the ones detained, thus allowing Erdogan to implement his regime even further and have the ultimate power over the judiciary. Also, by hiring 100,000 law enforcement officers since 2016, this was used as another method for Erdogan to gain the ultimate political control over the law enforcement apparatus. Hence, Turkey has become the largest prisoners of lawyers, judges and journalists.

This is the chilling reality of the situation in Turkey and clearly portrays the impact of Erdogan’s regime on the country. Moreover, almost identical events are taking place in Egypt, as mass arrests of lawyers are also being conducted there. “Equation police and National Security Agency (NSA) forces have conducted a mass arrest campaign, rounding up at least 40 human rights workers, lawyers, and political activists since late October 2018”. It is believed that within the process of detaining the individuals, not one person was shown an arrest warrant and the relevant authorities failed to mention the reason of arrest and dismissed family members with minimal information. The failure to provide such information to the individual within this case and the family members who are attempting to obtain information may amount to an enforced disappearance.

Conclusions

Regarding Turkey triggering the state of emergency, it is clear that this has created an unsafe environment for all citizens in Turkey. This limits the citizens of Turkey in many ways, from freedom of expression to why they are being detained or randomly being searched. This creates a grey area for the direction Turkey is heading in. President Erdogan has clearly adopted many approaches identical to that of General Franco. He uses the technique of implementing fear into the system as a mechanism to silence civilians, human rights activists, lawyers, judges and prosecutors.

The main question that arises is: how long will this all last?

This question seems almost impossible to answer or to even consider. Looking at the history of Spain and General Franco, it only started to go back to ‘normal’ on the passing of General Franco which further triggers a number of questions.

Will this be the same situation for Turkey? How will the authoritative individuals deal with the damage President Erdogan has created? Will they offer reparations to the individuals? Will they create new laws that will provide citizens with comfort ensuring they will not experience such measures again? Or will they be told to forgive and forget, because all that happened was now in the past?

Overall, the answer remains unclear and will only be answered as time passes. However, considering Spain and the problems that stemmed from Franco’s regime are yet to be addressed which suggests that this could potentially be the same case for Turkey, long after President Erdogan’s ‘reign’.

(*)ESRA K.

Image credits: Francoist demonstration in Salamanca (1937) (Image: By Unknown author – Biblioteca Virtual de Defensa/Public Domain)

References

  1. Dr. Christophe Paulussen, Impunity For International Terrorists? Key Legal Questions And Practical Considerations(2012) <https://www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Paulussen-Impunity-April-2012.pdf> accessed 24 October 2020. Page 2
  2. Dr. Christophe Paulussen, Impunity For International Terrorists? Key Legal Questions And Practical Considerations(2012) <https://www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Paulussen-Impunity-April-2012.pdf> accessed 24 October 2020. Page 2
  3. ‘Equipo Nizkor – Updated Set of Principles For The Protection And Promotion Of Human Rights Through Action To Combat Impunity.’ (Derechos.org, 2020) <http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/impu/principles.html> accessed 24 October 2020.
  4. Dr. Christophe Paulussen, Impunity For International Terrorists? Key Legal Questions And Practical Considerations(2012) <https://www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Paulussen-Impunity-April-2012.pdf> accessed 24 October 2020. Page 3
  5. ‘Equipo Nizkor – Updated Set Of Principles For The Protection And Promotion Of Human Rights Through Action To Combat Impunity.’ (Derechos.org, 2020).
  6. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014).

7.Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain (2014) page 127

  1. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 127
  2. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 127
  3. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 127

11.Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain (2014) page 127

  1. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 128
  2. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 132
  3. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 132
  4. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 124
  5. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 124
  6. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 130
  7. Rafael Escudero, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain(2014) page 130
  8. Osman Doğru Doğru and Tolga Şirin, Human Rights Paradox Of Turkey: Punishment For Victims And Impunity For Suppressors(2017).
  9. The Initiative, ‘Factsheet: Turkey- The State Of Emergency Dismissals And Inquiry (Appeal) Commission’ (The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 2020) <https://arrestedlawyers.org/2020/07/03/factsheet-turkeys-state-of-emergency-dismissals/> accessed 24 October 2020.
  10. The Initiative, ‘Chief Of Turkish National Police Admits That 540,000 Detentions Have Been Made Without Legal Ground’ (The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 2019) <https://arrestedlawyers.org/2019/07/15/chief-of-turkish-national-police-admits-that-540000-detentions-have-been-made-without-legal-ground/> accessed 24 October 2020.
  11. The Initiative, ‘Abuse Of The Anti-Terrorism Provision By Turkey Is Steadily Increasing (2013-2019)’ (The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 2020) <https://arrestedlawyers.org/2020/07/06/abuse-of-the-anti-terrorism-laws-by-turkey-is-steadily-increasing/> accessed 24 October 2020.
  12. (Arrestedlawyers.files.wordpress.com, 2020) <https://arrestedlawyers.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/mass-prosecution-of-lawyers-in-turkey-aug-2020.pdf> accessed 24 October 2020.
  13. The Initiative, ‘Turkey Stuck In Permanent State Of Emergency Regime’ (The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 2019) <https://arrestedlawyers.org/2019/12/10/turkey-stuck-in-permanent-state-of-emergency-regime/> accessed 24 October 2020.
  14. Ali Yildiz and Leighann Spencer, The Erosion of Property Rights In Turkey(2020) <https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3586084> accessed 24 October 2020.
  15. Ali Yildiz and Leighann Spencer, The Erosion Of Property Rights In Turkey(2020) <https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3586084> accessed 24 October 2020.
  16. Osman Doğru Doğru and Tolga Şirin, Human Rights Paradox Of Turkey: Punishment For Victims And Impunity For Suppressors(2017).
  17. ‘Egypt: Mass Arrests Of Lawyers, Activists’ (Human Rights Watch, 2020) <https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/18/egypt-mass-arrests-lawyers-activists> accessed 24 October 2020.
  18. ‘Egypt: Mass Arrests Of Lawyers, Activists’ (Human Rights Watch, 2020) <https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/18/egypt-mass-arrests-lawyers-activists> accessed 24 October 2020.

 

Bibliography

Primary sources 

Cases:

Elçi and others v. Turkey

Günay Dağ and others application

Secondary sources

Articles

Doğru O, and Şirin T, Human Rights Paradox Of Turkey: Punishment For Victims And Impunity For Suppressors (2017)

‘Egypt: Mass Arrests Of Lawyers, Activists’ (Human Rights Watch, 2020) <https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/18/egypt-mass-arrests-lawyers-activists> accessed 24 October 2020

‘Equipo Nizkor – Updated Set Of Principles For The Protection And Promotion Of Human Rights Through Action To Combat Impunity.’ (Derechos.org, 2020) <http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/impu/principles.html> accessed 24 October 2020

Escudero R, Road To Impunity: The Absence Of Transitional Justice Programs In Spain (2014)

Initiative T, ‘Factsheet: Turkey- The State Of Emergency Dismissals And Inquiry (Appeal) Commission’ (The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 2020) <https://arrestedlawyers.org/2020/07/03/factsheet-turkeys-state-of-emergency-dismissals/> accessed 24 October 2020

Initiative T, ‘Chief Of Turkish National Police Admits That 540,000 Detentions Have Been Made Without Legal Ground’ (The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 2019) <https://arrestedlawyers.org/2019/07/15/chief-of-turkish-national-police-admits-that-540000-detentions-have-been-made-without-legal-ground/> accessed 24 October 2020

Initiative T, ‘Abuse Of The Anti-Terrorism Provision By Turkey Is Steadily Increasing (2013-2019)’ (The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 2020) <https://arrestedlawyers.org/2020/07/06/abuse-of-the-anti-terrorism-laws-by-turkey-is-steadily-increasing/> accessed 24 October 2020

Initiative T, ‘Turkey Stuck In Permanent State Of Emergency Regime’ (The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 2019) <https://arrestedlawyers.org/2019/12/10/turkey-stuck-in-permanent-state-of-emergency-regime/> accessed 24 October 2020

Paulussen D, Impunity For International Terrorists? Key Legal Questions And Practical Considerations (2012) <https://www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Paulussen-Impunity-April-2012.pdf> accessed 24 October 2020

Yildiz A, and Spencer L, The Erosion Of Property Rights In Turkey(2020) <https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3586084> accessed 24 October 2020

(Arrestedlawyers.files.wordpress.com, 2020) <https://arrestedlawyers.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/mass-prosecution-of-lawyers-in-turkey-aug-2020.pdf> accessed 24 October 2020

 

Blog

Walking towards freedom

Four years have passed over the thwarted coup attempt of July 2016 in Turkey. The world is yet to hear a convincing and consistent statement of what happened that night, and who should be held accountable for the deaths of hundreds. A clarification is not provided, neither by the accusers, nor by the accused. In the meantime, half a million people continue to suffer from the ensuing persecution of dissent.

Blog

Turkey remains further away from the truth and the rule of law

Four years have passed over the thwarted coup attempt of July 2016 in Turkey. The world is yet to hear a convincing and consistent statement of what happened that night, and who should be held accountable for the deaths of hundreds. A clarification is not provided, neither by the accusers, nor by the accused. In the meantime, half a million people continue to suffer from the ensuing persecution of dissent.

Blog

Why are people becoming refugees?

Why are people becoming refugees?

By Zeynep Yildiz*

On the 29th of April 2018 a wonderful woman died. She was strong, ambitious and always fought for her rights. She was a brave mother who tried her best to save her 3 children. If a question was directed to you about who is this woman, none of you would be able to give an accurate answer. So this speech is dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives while trying to be great humans but were never recognized by others… She is Esma Uludağ…

Good morning/afternoon everyone my name is Zeynep and today I am going to explain to all of you what are the origins of the refugee issues, and the problems and hardships people have to go through nowadays. Also, I will present to you some examples and statistics as well as solutions for the refugee crisis.

Let me define the word refugee to make you all understand it better. According to Merriam Webster refugee means, a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.

The story I’m going to tell you is about someone who was very close to me, Esma Uludag. She died on April 29, 2018, at the age of 34 in Athens, the capital city of Greece. She was an educational enthusiast, reliable and hard working. She was a teacher. She escaped from lawlessness and she took refuge in Greece from Turkey because there are political problems that affect people’s lives there and dictatorship is the main problem. That’s why her husband went to Germany to migrate. While she was in Greece they were waiting for a family union in Germany. She did not want to be held prisoner of lawlessness. However,she could not bear the difficulties she had with her three children on her journey of freedom so she died as a result of a brain hemorrhage. Just because all countries force people in process for documents Esma Uludag didn’t have any choice ,she went to Greece and died while they were waiting for a family union. All these pieces of information are proved by samanyolunews .

Why? Why should people suffer more in the worse moments in their life? Do you think that leaving your own country and going to another one is as easy as a piece of cake for everyone? Why do you think people are leaving their own country, for money? Yeah, a few number of people may but the causes are first, religious, national and social persecutions. The most common reason according to pew.com is people become refugees because of persecution .46% of refugees in 2016 who came to the US were Muslim and 44% Christian,10% were others. Moreover, according to historic.com the second reason is war, currently the largest group of refugees in the world are fleeing the civil conflict in Syria which we have been dealing since 2011 and 6.3 million people are displaced internally. Another 5 million have entirely left the country. The third one is hunger, based on globalcitizen.com, it is estimated that 20 million people in North Africa and middle eastern countries are becoming refugees.

Let’s look at more data. There are top 10 destination countries for refugees according to stc.com, from a global total of around 23 million refugees in 2017, Turkey was by far the largest host nation with approximately 3.8 million, Germany, Pakistan, and Uganda all had around 1.4 million refugees. In addition most of the refugees come from Syria with 6.5 million then Afghanistan was second at around 3 million.

When we all hear the word refugee most of us think a person who is forced to leave his/her homeland if it is in a bad condition which means according to amnesty.com they are leaving as quickly as possible and most of them without money.

There are lots of challenges to become a refugee according to relief.com. The first one is obtaining legal recognition and personal documentary in accessing quality learning, education and skill opportunities .The initial problems that are face by refugees are discrimination, racism and “culture clash”. Also poor access to youth-sensitive healthcare support and lack of safety, security, and freedom of movement.

At least one million people were killed, four million were displaced internally and another a half-million fled as refugees in Africa according to theguardian.com approximately more than 15 thousand people die who are kids, adults, babies. “they are human beings”. Why should people perish just because they have problems in their own country ? Therefore, we have to solve the world refugee crisis. People are dying while governments spend billions on border control.

Now,I want to propose some solutions to the crisis at present .The first one is opening up safe routes to care for the refugees is one important solution according to amnesty.com then no one should have to die crossing a border and yet almost 7000 people had drowned in the Mediterranean in October 2013. The second one is they travel by land or by sea, people fleeing persecution or wars should be allowed to cross the border, with or without documents. Pushing people back is a more dangerous route to safety.

Countries should help refugees because they are gaining a lot of advantages from it .For example, it is a solution for the aging population according to lumenlearnin. In my opinion, countries should have transparent document process rules so that the people can understand why the host country rejected their application for citizenship and change what they have then moved on to another country.

Esma Uludag was a lovely mother and teacher who is an example of a refugee crisis. She did not deserve to die in this way so I leave these questions to you. What will you do ? Will you keep being silent or are you going to do something to help those people?

* ZEYNEP YILDIZ

 

 

Blog

Statement of Human Rights Solidarity on the Killing of George Floyd

We can’t breathe either!

Events take on new meanings from the past as they roll into the future.

As HRS, we are truly saddened and angry at the unprovoked killing of unarmed George Floyd in police custody on May 25. Our pain, outrage and frustration are a backwash of deep-seated, virtually institutionalized racism in law enforcement agencies. They are also a backwash of prevalent disbelief in a better future.

We are angry, not only because George – a father, a brother, a son, a friend, a human – was killed in cold blood. We are angry also because similar killings of the past went unpunished, because they didn’t awaken us from our centuries-old ignorance and aloofness to the sufferings of others, because they didn’t trigger national and international reforms in policies of policing, education, communication, and arts.

We are angry, because past killings didn’t stop George’s killers!

We are angry, yet again, because the grossly familiar scheme of blaming protestors for vandalism of the few among them foretells what is to come…

George’s sacrifice won’t prevent future killings…

George’s life will be wasted…

Unless we prevent this outcome… unless we establish mechanisms to unlearn the ingrained racism in our law enforcement systems.

That is the challenge for human rights defenders and activists.

As HRS, we stand with those who are calling out the institutionalised racism and violence toward people of colour in our countries. We have had enough of “but we should respect our law enforcement agencies” sermons. We have had enough of “we will do everything to assure this will never be repeated” promises.

Riots are the language of the unheard; they are the outcry of the unpeople.

We won’t fall for the scheme of blaming the many for the mistakes of the few.

We won’t fall prey to the trap of trivializing unprovoked killing of an innocent person by the very hands of officers who should be protecting his life, on the face of excesses of angry and often provoked rioters.

A wrong does not right another wrong.

We call on all human rights defenders to maintain the present momentum to bring about real and sustainable change.

We call for the upbringing of a new generation of human rights activists who will prioritise the rights of future generations over their own.

We call on authors, writers, bloggers, and intellectuals to rewrite the future, for which current gloom does not promise breathable air.

With that future on the horizon, we can’t breathe either!

We need air!

More air! More air!

IMAGE CREDITS: Talula Cedar-James (Link to Original)

 

BlogWebinar

Impunity Webinar: Neither torture nor impunity are an exception anymore

A webinar on policies of impunity in Turkey and the international mechanisms of remedies underlined that impunity is no longer an exception in Turkey and that international mechanisms are yet to be developed to fill the vacuum of lacking domestic remedies.