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Category: Reports

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:

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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.

 

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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.

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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).

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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

ReportsUK AuthoritiesWomen’s Rights

Report on ‘Met’: The men’s club that failed to protect women and children

The final report of Baroness Casey’s investigation into the London Police Department (Met) was made public in late March.

Commissioned by Mayor Sadiq Khan in response to the murder of Sarah Everard, the report reveals disturbing findings about the culture and practices of the Metropolitan Police.

The review found a culture of sexism and harassment within the Met, and many female officers and staff reported their experiences of harassment and sexism. These behaviours were often ignored or rejected by senior leadership, creating a toxic environment for women in power. The report also highlighted insufficient education on gender and race issues; many officials and staff did not have sufficient knowledge of how to handle cases involving women and minority groups. This has led to bias and discrimination in the handling of cases.

Additionally, the report noted a lack of diversity in leadership within the force, with senior leadership being predominantly white and male. This led to a lack of diversity in decision-making and policy development, which further perpetuated biases and discrimination within the force.

To address these issues, the report made several recommendations. One of the key recommendations was a cultural overhaul, with the men’s club needing to develop a comprehensive plan to address the sexist and discriminatory culture within the club. The report also recommended better training for members on issues of gender and race, with mandatory training required for promotion and advancement within the club. The report called for a more efficient and transparent disciplinary process, with stricter penalties for members found guilty of misconduct. Finally, the report recommended that the club take active steps to recruit and promote more women and minority members into leadership positions.

In conclusion, the final report of Baroness Casey’s review paints a concerning picture of a men’s club in need of significant reform. However, the report’s recommendations provide a clear roadmap for how the club can begin to address these issues and create a more equitable and just institution. We must work together to dismantle the exclusive culture of the men’s club and create a more inclusive environment for all members.

EventsReportsUK AuthoritiesUnited NationsWomen’s Rights

HRS at United Nations for women’s rights

Human Rights Solidarity organised two panels at the CSW-67 conference held at the United Nations, where women’s issues were discussed. From March 6th-17th, HRS attended the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 67 conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City where representatives of UN Member States. Civil society organisations and UN entities gather at UN headquarters in New York to discuss progress and gaps in women’s rights and their status in society, with a focus on innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls.

HRS engaged in various panels, discussions, and networking opportunities held both in the UN and by participating NGOS and global companies eager to help the women’s movement, while also hosting their own event: Women Power in the World Economy with special guest speakers Dr Virginia Valian and Dr Jenna Carpenter. The event took us through the past, present, and future of women in the workforce, economy, and STEM through both a lens of social psychological factors and female empowerment in male dominated sectors.

The event was greatly successful, and the HRS members gained valuable experience and knowledge from the insightful panels and the powerful women they met from within the UN and around the world.

Key takeaways:

  • Funding girls’ education supports the mission to end poverty long-term and to bring women into the workforce
  • Enabling access to technology and the digital world to all girls and women will increase access to education, help, and the ability to share experiences and struggles with others

How we can help:

  • Education: Advocate for equitable education, encourage, create, and join a course for digital literacy
  • Urge national and local governments to guarantee a network of support for women with localized organizations and leaders
  • Call on nations to work with localized communities to address gender gaps in schooling collaboratively and commit resources.

You can read our detailed report on these meetings in the section below:

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