Cross Party Joint Letter calling the UK government to make human rights as a condition of improved relations with Turkey
DATE: 11 May 2021
PLACE: Online Campaign
COMMITTEE: Write for Rights
Human Rights Solidarity organized a Write Your MP campaign to support the Cross Party Joint Letter launched by Crispin Blunt MP and Hilary Benn MP, calling on the UK government to make human rights as a precondition for improving economic and political relations with Turkey. We invited our volunteers all around the UK to write letters to their members of parliament, encouraging them to undersign the joint letter. When the letter was finally sent to the then Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab by the two co-organizers, the joint letter was signed by 53 members of the parliament.
HRS hopes that this important campaing will bring about further steps towards adoption of an ethical foreign policy by the UK government.
From China to Turkey, from Russia to Saudi Arabia illiberal countries are known to have engaged in enforced disappearances of opposition voices. Starting with the thwarted Coup attempt of 2016, Turkish government authorized its intelligence agency to engage in cross-border abduction operations and the officers of the Turkish National Intelligence Agency were protected with legal impunity.
On the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances (30 August) we were opposite Number 10, Downing Street, calling our government to be more proactive in preventing such practices and securing that the perpetrators of such violations of human rights be brought in front of justice.
Here is the speech HRS spokesperson delivered during the day of the protest:
Tool of Terror?
We are gathered today to observe the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
This day was promulgated by the United Nations, as an international observance in December 2010. The aim was to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places unknown to their relatives. A decade later, we are here today, to raise our voices, and to remind our governments that nothing has changed…
Ten years of work has given no meaningful result.
In October 2020 the daily number of enforced disappearances surpassed 1,000 people worldwide. A majority of these people went missing during attempts of migration from a zone of conflict.
The Missing Migrants Project of the International Organization for Migration has counted more than 35,000 migrants who lost their lives or went missing since 2014.
Only a little proportion of abductions are reported. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project reported in the 18 months before August 2020, more than 3,200 abductions and forced disappearances worldwide. More than half of these abductions took place in only four countries: China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico and Syria.
In later years, European countries were involved in abductions of opposition figures. Turkish intelligence agents found cooperating partners in Moldovo and Kosovo in kidnapping of their nationals.
Despite all revelations on disappearing Uyghurs at the Chinese concentration camps, our governments continue on favoring China as a trade partner.
We have seen how Western governments are contracting the task of their border protection against waves of immigration to dictators.
Our governments are at best silent on the face of these enforced disappearances.
The missing Uyghurs in China, families demanding information about their missing family members in Islamabad, funerals held after 3 decades in Afghanistan, and international abductions regime that turned Turkey into a pirate state…
All call for action!
And there is no action at the side of our governments.
Let us raise our voice for the victims of enforced disappearances all around the world.
Let us demand justice for them.
We demand our government to sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of all persons from Enforced Disappearance.
We demand our government to enhance the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime to include the perpetrators of enforced disappearances.
We demand our government to prioritize a complete stop to state run abduction campaigns as a precondition of friendly relations.
Let there be no more kidnappings!
Let there be no more enforced disappearances! No more abductions by state agents!
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.