Category: Council to Europe

report-human-rights-violations-afghanistan
Council to EuropeExecutive CommitteeReportsUnited Nations

Our report on human rights violations in Afghanistan

We present our report on ‘The Humanitarian Crisis Emerging for Afghanistan and Afghan Refugees’ to UN and Council of Europe. “The Humanitarian Crisis Emerging for Afghanistan and Afghan Refugees” is a comprehensive and deeply impactful report that examines the intricate layers of the humanitarian crisis stemming from the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan and the subsequent displacement of Afghan refugees.

This meticulously crafted report not only presents a comprehensive analysis of the evolving situation but also adds a compelling human element through an insightful interview with a former female prosecutor who fled Afghanistan. By shedding light on the multifaceted issues at hand, this report aims to contribute to a better understanding of the situation and facilitate informed decision-making by governments, international organizations, and civil society.

violence-against-women-disabilities-uk-eu-turkey
Council to EuropeReportsWomen’s Rights

Our report ‘Violence against women with disabilities in the UK, EU and Turkey’

 

Our report ‘Preventing and Combating Violence against Women with Disabilities in the UK, EU and Turkey’ is submitted to PACE. We are proud to submit our report on “Preventing and Combating Violence against Women with Disabilities in the UK, EU and Turkey” to the Committee on Equality and Anti-Discrimination in the PACE and UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls. This comprehensive report aims to shed light on the pressing issue of violence against women with disabilities in different countries.

The report, which has been meticulously compiled through rigorous research and consultation, underscores the urgent need for measures to address and eliminate the violence faced by women with disabilities. It highlights the unique challenges they encounter and provides recommendations to the PACE on policy frameworks, awareness campaigns, and support systems.

We firmly believe that this report will contribute significantly to advancing the dialogue and actions surrounding this critical issue within PACE and beyond.

strasbourg-meeting-justice-letter-council-europe-ecthr
Council to EuropeEventsHuman Rights Defenders

2nd Strasbourg meeting for justice: Letter to the Council of Europe and the ECtHR

 

We came together for the second time in Strasbourg to reiterate our call for justice against rights violations in Turkey. Nearly 3 thousand people who have been subjected to rights violations in Turkey met in Strasburg, France, where the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe are located, and demanded urgent justice.

The second ‘Strasbourg Justice Meeting’ and ‘justice march’, the first of which was organised last year, was held today. The march protested against the silence of European political structures and legal institutions in the face of rights violation applications from Turkey.

Organised by a number of European human rights organisations including Human Rights Solidarity, the demonstration included a concert and various theatrical performances. Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour Party in the UK, also made a speech on the stage, supporting the protesters and criticising the ECHR for delaying its decisions. Famous NBA player and activist Enes Kanter and Norwegian theologian Dag Aakre took the stage and expressed their demands for justice.

Approximately 3 thousand people who left Turkey due to severe human rights violations they suffered in Turkey for about 10 years gathered on All de la Robertsau Street, where the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Council of Europe are located. Wearing yellow t-shirts and carrying yellow balloons and banners, the crowd expressed their demands for justice in front of the Council of Europe and the ECHR buildings after 12.00 pm. “Justice delayed is not justice! Victims are here, where is the court?” they chanted. Since no one from the Council of Europe greeted them, the victims left a letter with their demands at the door. The group then continued their march and stopped in front of the ECHR to present their letters to the officials of the institution.

LETTER TO THREE IMPORTANT EUROPEAN NAMES

Yasemin Aydın and Rumi Unal, representatives of the Peacefull Actions Platform, which represents hundreds of thousands of people whose rights have been violated, presented a letter addressed to three names holding important positions in European institutions. During the presentation of the letter, a theatrical performance was staged criticising the ECHR for issuing its judgements too late. A prison cell on wheels representing people who have been imprisoned for years also took place during the march.

The letter read as follows:

“Inhumane practices against all opposition groups in the country continue unabated. These widespread and systematic violations have been characterised as ‘crimes against humanity’ by the relevant UN bodies. Once again, no progress has been made on the more than three thousand educational institutions, thousands of legal associations and at least $32 billion in private assets confiscated after 15 July. Tens of thousands of women, the elderly, the sick and hundreds of babies under the age of six are still being held in prisons for political reasons. Dozens of people continue to be arrested on hollow charges on an almost daily basis. The hope of thousands of people systematically subjected to gross human rights violations is that the Council of Europe and the ECtHR, which have the authority to take binding decisions on Turkey, will enforce the law. It is essential that these institutions take their legal position on these acts of crimes against humanity without further delay and fulfil their obligations immediately. We are grateful for some of the judgements of the ECtHR during this time, which have been a breath of fresh air for the victims of political repression. However, we expect the Court, as soon as possible, to stop ignoring the fact that more than half a million people are being persecuted simply for exercising their fundamental rights, such as subscribing to a newspaper, having a bank account or sending their children to legally operating schools, joining a religious chat group or using a mobile communication app.”

INJUSTICES HIGHLIGHTED

As in the previous year, this year, as well as foreign guests, people who have been subjected to rights violations in Turkey and their families made speeches at the Justice Gathering. Melek Cetinkaya, mother of Taha Furkan Cetinkaya, a military student who was released after 6 years in prison, lawyer Elif Buyukozturk, teacher Halit Tonbul, teacher Gonca Kara who lost her two children Gulsum and Mustafa in the Aegean Sea, academic Salih Hosoglu, Nesrin Kisi, wife of torture victim Zabit Kisi, were among the speakers.

sexual-exploitation-trafficking-ukrainian-women
Council to EuropeEuropean ParliamentReportsUnited NationsWomen’s Rights

HRS report on ‘Sexual exploitation and trafficking of Ukrainian women’

Our report on Ukraine has been submitted to PACE, the UN Special Rapporteur and the FEMM Committee of European Parliament. We are pleased to submit a brief report on “sexual exploitation and trafficking of Ukrainian women” to esteemed FEMM Committee of the European Parliament, the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the PACE and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls.

This report sheds light on the alarming issue of sexual exploitation faced by women in the context of ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It aims to highlight the gravity of the situation, bring attention to the plight of the victims, and advocate for urgent action to address this pressing issue.

By submitting this report, we sincerely hope to draw the attention of relevant authorities to the urgent need for intervention and assistance in addressing this gross violation of women’s rights. It is our firm belief that concerted efforts from the international community can help prevent further atrocities and alleviate the suffering of the affected women.

We kindly request attention and consideration of this report in the upcoming work of all relevant international authorities.

You can read our detailed report in the section below:

 

deprem
Council to EuropeEuropean ParliamentHuman Rights DefendersReportsUK AuthoritiesUnited Nations

Injustices after the devastating earthquake in Turkey

 

This report reveals the extent to which the rights of minority and opposition groups have been violated after the disaster. South-eastern provinces of Turkey were hit by one of the deadliest natural disasters of human history on the 6th of February 2023. The affected region is dominantly inhabited by Kurds, Alevites and Syrian refugees — all traditionally discriminated against, or at least considered to be neglected populations in Turkey.

As a result, the earthquake exacerbated the existing social cleavages and made the existing injustices increasingly more visible.

Our report reveals particularly the extent to which the fundamental rights and freedoms of minority groups are violated in the post-disaster period.

You can read our information note on rights violations after the earthquake in Turkey in the section below:

Publish

akpm
Council to EuropeEnvironmental RightsReports

Our amendment proposals to PACE on the Political strategies in natural disasters

 

We have made our amendment proposals on “Political strategies to prevent, prepare for, and face the consequences of natural disasters.”

We are delighted to announce our proposed amendments to the draft report on the Political strategies to prevent, prepare for, and face the consequences of natural disasters. We hope to make contribution to the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which is dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

 

aihm
Council to EuropeHuman Rights DefendersReports

Our amendment proposals to PACE on the implementation of the judgement

 

We submitted our amendment proposals on the Implementation of the judgments of the ECHR: 11th draft report of the PACE. We are proud to announce our proposed amendments to the draft report on the Implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights: 11th Report. We hope to make a contribution to the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which is dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

torture
Council to EuropeHuman Rights DefendersReports

Our submission to the PACE on systemic torture in Turkey

We present to the PACE the report we prepared on the widespread and systematic torture of opposition groups in Turkey. We are delighted to announce the submission of our report “Systemic torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in places of detention in Turkey”, to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The report demonstrates the extent to which torture has been put into practice by Turkish law enforcement since 15 July 2016, when the fundamental rights and freedoms of Turkish citizens were put on the back burner. We hope that our report will be helpful for the drafting process of the report entitled “Allegations of systemic torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in places of detention in Council of Europe member States” which will be voted on by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
turkiye-election-presidential- parliamentary
Council to EuropeHuman Rights DefendersReports

Letter to European authorities about Turkey elections

We submitted our letter to the European authorities expressing our concerns about the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey.

The letter expresses our concerns about the elections to be held on May 14, 2023. It has been sent to the following authorities:
Secretary General of the Council of Europe,
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
Council for Democratic Elections of the Venice Commission.

An election with unprecedented importance is forthcoming in Turkey. The next Turkish presidential and parliamentary election will take place on 14 May 2023. Besides the debate about whether Erdogan can be a candidate under the Turkish constitution[1], numerous worrying allegations about the credibility of the elections are frequently being raised in these last days, with less than 50 days before the elections.

As a matter of fact, the German government believes that it is difficult to speak of a fair and free electoral environment in Turkey because of the anti-democratic steps taken in the run-up to the elections[2]. In recent years, Erdoğan has gained unprecedented control over Turkey’s institutions, from the courts to the central bank, and has repeatedly used those powers to manipulate the electoral system in his favour[3]. In March 2022, Erdogan changed the country’s electoral laws in a way that could politicize the oversight of vote counts[4]. Furthermore, all current members of the Supreme Electoral Board were appointed by Erdogan himself[5]. Remembering the fact that the Supreme Electoral Board cancelled the 2019 mayoral election for Istanbul at the request of the ruling AKP, makes Erdogan’s influence over the board more worrying.

Frank Schwabe, head of the PACE Election Observation Mission to Turkey, does not believe that Turkey can ensure democratic environment during the election period[6]. He emphasized the recent reports of the different authorities in the Council of Europe revealing that Turkey is sliding away from the values of a democratic society.

Fraud allegations in Turkish elections are not new at all. In the last elections, the referendum in 2017 and the general election in 2018, allegations of voting fraud in polling stations were brought to the fore by many national and international organizations that were actively monitoring the elections. Opposition parties and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) criticized the results of the referendum because of the validation of 1.5–2.5 million unstamped ballots by the Supreme Election Board[7]. In addition to legalizing unstamped ballots, the relocation of ballot boxes could also enable the AKP to manipulate results to its benefit—together with other means such as reconfiguring the ethnic makeup of some predominately Kurdish southeastern regions and the use of intimidation. As highlighted in the report of the International Crisis Group, these ballot box relocations can potentially discourage voters who may be reluctant to travel to a neighbouring village associated with a rival Kurdish clan[8]. A. Hunko, German parliamentarian, who was in the election observation mission of the Council of Europe, affirmed that he had been detained by the police in southeastern Turkey and he had never experienced this situation in his previous 15 such missions across the world[9]. He clearly said that the referendum in 2017 was not a free or a fair election. The forensic analysis demonstrates the veracity of allegations on the systematic and highly significant statistical support for the presence of both ballot stuffing and voter rigging[10].

Cevheri Guven, an exiled journalist in Germany, likewise claims that 2,5 million ballots without stamps had been added and admitted in the last presidential election. Above all, he continues to say that there is a strong probability that Erdogan can do the same thing in this election. In his YouTube video, which reached 1 million views in 2 days, He explains in detail how the ballots would be stolen during the elections[11].

Overall, Human Rights Solidarity calls on the relevant authorities of the Council of Europe to take the necessary measures to ensure that the next presidential and parliamentary elections take place in accordance with democratic standards. 

Sources: 

[1] Article 101 of the Turkish Constitution clearly affirms that “…The term of office of the President is five years. A person may be elected President of the Republic at most twice.”. Erdogan have been already elected twice. Hence, whether he can be candidate is very questionable. Academics in constitutional law insist that he cannot be candidate under the constitution.  (Anayasa hukukçuları: Erdoğan yeniden aday olamaz – DW – 19.01.2023)

[2] Berlin: Türkiye’deki seçim sürecinde adil bir ortam yok – DW – 22.03.2023

[3] Defeating Erdoğan: Turkey’s opposition searches for a champion | Financial Times (ft.com), 4 mai 2022

[4] Defeating Erdoğan: Turkey’s opposition searches for a champion | Financial Times (ft.com), 4 mai 2022

[5] (54) ERDOĞAN’IN KOZU: AHMET YENER ÇETESİ – YouTube

[6] Berlin: Türkiye’deki seçim sürecinde adil bir ortam yok – DW – 22.03.2023

[7] OSCE/ODIHR Limited Referendum Observation Mission Final Report, Warsaw, 22 June 2017, available at https://www.osce.org/files/f/documents/6/2/324816.pdf

[8] https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/76656 , 21 June 2018

[9] Videos Fuel Charges of Fraud in Erdogan’s Win in Turkey Referendum – The New York Times (nytimes.com), 18 April 2017

[10] Klimek P, Jiménez R, Hidalgo M, Hinteregger A, Thurner S (2018) Forensic analysis of Turkish elections in 2017–2018. PLOS ONE 13(10): e0204975. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204975

[11] (61) ERDOĞAN SEÇİMİ BÖYLE ÇALACAK: BÜYÜK İFŞA – YouTube