The winning entries of the ‘2nd International Migration Cartoons Competition’ organised by HRS and Time to Help are on display. On Friday 8 September, 25 of the cartoons we call ‘Humanity Cartoons’ will be presented to the public at Pancras Square in London. You can see the cartoons drawn by important artists from different countries between 3.00-5.00 PM. The same exhibition will be on display in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 17 September.
These cartoons draw attention to the issue of ‘immigration’, which is among the most important agendas of the world, and aim to raise awareness about the violations of rights.
There are many migrants living in the UK and the number of asylum applications to the country is increasing every day. People who are looking for a safe place just to survive and who leave their countries at the risk of death face very serious difficulties.
As people living in peace and prosperity, we cannot ignore these migrants in difficult situations. Like every human being, they have the right to live and work. Being aware of this, we should extend a helping hand to migrants and provide the safe living conditions they seek.
With these feelings, we invite you to see the cartoons that illustrate the difficulties of migrants very well and to think about the solution of the problems.
In the panel held in the British Parliament, crimes of torture and countermeasures involving state officials in Turkey were discussed. On Monday 26th of June 2023, Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws hosted an event in UK Parliament in collaboration with The Arrested Lawyers Initiative and Human Rights Solidarity.
The event covered ‘The Deterrence Potential of Multilateral Sanctions for Human Rights Abuses in Turkey’ to discuss Impunity, torture, and ill-treatment in Turkey in relation to Magnitsky Sanctions from the United Kingdom. Speakers, Kevin Dent KC, Sarah Teich, Natalia Kubesch, and Michael Polak, presented at the event on their work against this issue and encouraged the public to raise awareness on the current political situation in Turkey and the UK’s benefit to help.
Baroness Helena Kennedy
The state of emergency in Turkey marked the beginning of gross human rights violations, including widespread torture facilitated by the adoption of impunity provisions, enforced disappearances and mass detention on an industrial scale. According to official figures, more than 600,000 people have been detained by the police on overly broad terrorism charges, while more than 100,000 have been remanded in custody. Between 2016 and 2021, more than 310,000 people were convicted of membership of an armed terrorist organisation. Since 2016, more than 1,600 lawyers have been detained, and so far, 551 lawyers have been sentenced to 3,356 years in prison on terrorism-related charges, mostly for membership in terrorist organisations.
In September 2020, The Arrested Lawyers launched the Turkey Human Rights Accountability Project in response to the ongoing rule of law violations and imprisonment of lawyers, activists, journalists and academics on trumped-up charges. Prominent British barristers Kevin Dent KC and Michael Polak, who both attended the event. An extra step was made towards the Canadian Government, authored by Mr Dent and Mr Polak, as well as Ms Sarah Teich.
Baroness Kennedy: “Turkey has been brought in front of the European Court of Human Rights and the court found defiance of rule of law time and again. At this point in time, the Council of Europe is weighing the possibility of taking action against Turkey.”
Michael Polak: “Sanctions work better when multiple countries are involved.” “We provided the Foreign Ministry a well studied 500 pages long evidence file. Two years passed over our submission and every other month I am sending them an email and asking, did you read it. No response.”
Sarah Teich: “There are things we can learn from the UK and there are things they can learn from Canada. Multilateral learning is as good as multilateral sanctions.”
Kevin Dent KC: “This sense that you cannot sanction a friendly country has to be overcome. When I speak to people who are critical of Turkey’s human rights records, they say it is too complex to have sanctions on nationals of Turkey.”
Natalia Kubesch: “The fact that nationals of friendly countries avoid sanction gives a message of hypocrisy and that some lives matter more than others.”
Sarah Teich, Michael Polak, Kevin Dent QC, Beatrice Travis (London Advocacy, Moderator) Natalia Kubesch
Key Points made in the event:
• The event covered case submissions made to the governments of the UK, US, and Canada, detailing first-hand accounts of torture present in Turkey.
• The UK has a close security and diplomatic relationship with its Turkish counterparts. Turkey is a NATO member, a formal ally of Britain and has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1950. Turkey is also a close trade partner to Britain, with the UK being the second biggest importer of goods from Turkey.
• This context creates significant diplomatic sensitivities, impacting the UK government’s willingness to impose targeted human rights sanctions Turkish officials, in the fear that it could jeopardise future relations. Instead, the UK’s government’s preference to date has been to raise any concerns pertaining to the human rights situations in Turkey bilaterally, at the ministerial level on an ad hoc basis.
• The case of Turkey demonstrates that even established democracies face the risk of sliding into authoritarianism and instability if they fail to confront emerging abuses and allies to do not hold them to account.
• There is a demand for action from governments who are yet to respond despite it being nearly two years since submissions to the UK and Canada:
• These sanctions are about visa arrangements and asset freezing.
• Sanctions can also provide an important symbolic form of accountability by expressly recognising the harm suffered by victims and calling out perpetrators for their involvement in the abuses: sanctions can convey strong signs of disapproval by condoning, and explicitly demanding changes, to the targeted individuals’ or entities’ behaviour. Specifically, sanctions enable states to send a statement “that this will not stand”, deterring others from engaging in similar conduct.
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:
The ‘2nd International Migration Cartoons Competition’ organised by Time to Help UK, one of our solution partners, has been concluded. The first 6 works that ranked in the competition with cash prizes were announced on the website named ‘Humanity Cartoons’ (www.humanitycartoons.com). The website also featured the top 20 winning works.
The owners and countries of the first 6 cartoons selected by the jury consisting of Kianoush Ramezani, Christina Sifianou, Fawzy Morsy, Safaa Odah are as follows: Gustavo Fernando Caballero Talavera (Mexico), Ali Miraee (Iran), Vladimir Pavlik (Slovakia), Luc Descheemaeker (Belgium), Hamit Gış (Turkey), Alireza Pakdel (Iran). A total of USD 3,300 will be awarded to these artists.
In addition to the winning cartoons, 100 works that passed the first evaluation stage are planned to be exhibited in the UK and other European countries. Starting on 20 June, the Refugees Week will be organised in two different ways: ‘travelling’ or ‘fixed’ exhibitions. Fixed exhibitions will be held in halls or galleries, while travelling exhibitions will be carried out by volunteers in the streets and squares of some big cities.
The competition, which was organised to draw attention to the ‘refugee problem’, which is among the most important agendas of the world, started on 1 March 2023 and ended on 15 May. During this period, 768 professional or amateur artists from many countries sent a total of 1,278 cartoons. Of the works drawn by the artists, 674 were found to meet the announced criteria of the competition. The 100 works presented to the selection of famous cartoonists were determined by a committee of experts.
The first one was organised by Kimse Yok Mu Association
The first edition of this contest was organised in 2016 by Kimse Yok Mu Association, a humanitarian aid organisation based in Turkey. Nearly 1,200 artworks from different countries participated in the contest, with Cuban cartoonist Hernandez Guerrero coming first, Constatin Pavel from Romania coming second and Italian Alessandro Gatto coming third. The 120 selected cartoons were to be exhibited in Athens, Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, Cologne, Brussels and Paris. The first exhibition was opened in Athens, but the plan was left unfinished as Kimse Yok Mu Association was unlawfully shut down after the coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The managers and employees of the association that organised the competition became refugees.
HRS, together with Time to Help UK, one of the partner organisations of Kimse Yok Mu Association in Europe, set out to complete the unfinished plan. Stating that they want to benefit from the power of the art of cartooning and at the same time support those working in this field, the organisation delegation explains their aim as follows: “We want to shed light on migration issues in general, the problems in the asylum and refugee integration systems of Western societies and contribute to a better understanding of the problems faced by migrant communities.”
Yusuf Kar: People leave their homeland to survive
Yusuf Kar, General Manager of Time to Help UK, stated that they see it as a historical responsibility and debt to continue such a meaningful project in an environment where the world is discussing asylum seekers. Reminding that nearly 100 million people have been displaced against their will, Kar said: “As an organisation that provides humanitarian aid to African and Asian countries, we are well aware of the conditions that lead to forced migration. As a last resort, people leave the land of their birth in order to sustain their lives. However, they are not welcomed in the countries they take refuge in for different reasons.” Emphasising that the problem carries the danger of growing even more, Kar said, “For a solution, the problem must first be recognised. We believe that the competition we organised will serve this purpose.”
Pointing out that they plan to exhibit 100 cartoons selected among the works participating in the competition in different centres of the world, Yusuf Kar said that they expect support from all institutions and groups that are sensitive to the issue. Reminding that they can share materials and ideas with those who want to open an exhibition, Kar asked those who are interested to contact them.
Hamza Mazlum: The most important problems are legal and administrative
Hamza Mazlum, Executive Director of Human Rights Solidarity, stated that ‘forced migration and refugees’ is one of the issues they focus on. Noting that hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers around the world are facing great problems, Mazlum reminded that international law has sufficient infrastructure to protect refugees and asylum seekers. Stating that the 1951 Geneva Convention and many other international texts and judicial decisions have clear and unambiguous provisions on the subject, Mazlum made the following assessment:
“However, in practice, states can ignore these rules and take very serious actions against the law. I think that since the interests of governments do not coincide with the rights of asylum seekers, the issue has completely turned into a struggle between civil society and states. In order to find a solution, the international community needs to defend the rights of asylum seekers as a whole. We are working with international organisations to overcome these problems, but the issue should also be well understood by civil society. I believe that the exhibition of the works of the cartoon contest in different centres will create an important awareness on this issue.”
Mazlum invited all organisations working in the field of human rights to establish a partnership to organise an exhibition for ‘Humanity Cartoons’. While emphasising that they can provide all kinds of support in this regard, he said that they are also open to making a joint programme.
Human Rights Solidariy’s (HRS) accreditation application to the European Parliament (EP) was accepted after an assessment by the organisation’s units. One of the good news this month came from the European Parliament (EP). The accreditation request made by HRS in May was granted by the EP authorities. HRS management appointed Burak Keskin, a young lawyer from Belgium, as its representative to the EP.
With this appointment, we aim to make valuable contributions to the European legislative power on human rights issues. Mr Keskin will both follow the developments in the EP and work on HRS’s demands and reports.
If you have a project or issue that you would like to be raised at the EP, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Human Rights Solidarity begins the new year with great news, and we are excited to share it with our members.
The process of establishing our corporate identity, which we have been working on for a long time, has finally come to a conclusion, and HRS has officially been registered as a charitable organization, also known as a ‘public welfare organization’ by the Charities Commission of England and Wales (No: 1201416). The decision was communicated to us on December 21st and has been made public on the commission’s website.
Since 2020, HRS has been operating as a ‘solidarity platform’ under the umbrella of the London Advocacy Group, a non-profit company. Now as an independent organization, HRS sees it as a responsibility to act in partnership with other organizations as needed.
We believe that the new status brings energy and power that will allow us to reach our goals faster.