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We nominate Orhan Kemal Cengiz for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize 2017

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We nominate Orhan Kemal Cengiz for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize 2017

We, the members of the Board of the Human Rights Agenda Association (IHGD), have decided to nominate our co-founder and former chairman, human rights lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz for this year's Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. The prize was created in 2013 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in collaboration with the Vaclav Havel Library and Charta 77 Foundation.

The basis for our nomination of Orhan Kemal Cengiz is his admirable work in the field of human rights throughout the last 20 years. Six other organisations and individuals have promptly joined forces with our organisation in endorsing the nomination of Orhan Kemal Cengiz for the prize: UN Watch, one of the leading organisations monitoring the UN's human rights work; Taner Kılıç, lawyer and chairman of Amnesty International Turkey; Gerald Knaus, chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI); Hüsnü Öndül, lawyer and former chairman of the Human Rights Association (IHD); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bican Şahin, chairman of the Freedom Research Association; and Ayşe Bilgen, former vice-chairwoman of the Human Rights Research Association (IHAD).

 

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Is The State of Emergency Inquiry Commission, Established By Emergency Decree 685, An Effective Remedy?

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Following the proposal made by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe as well as the Venice Commission concerning the creation of an independent ad hoc body for the examination of individual cases of dismissals, subject to subsequent judicial review, the Government issued a Decree Law No: 685 concerning the establishment of a Inquiry Commission on 23 January 2017.

Dr.Kerem Altıparmak of Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences, analyzes the State of Emergency Inquiry Commission, established by Emergency Decree 685 dated 23 January 2017, in this brilliant article and argues whether it is an effective remedy or not. We sincerely wish the Commission to take into consideration the analysis pointed out in the article.

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Human Rights Joint Platform Report on State of Emergency in its 215th Day

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Human Rights Joint Platform issued an updated report on State of Emergency as of 23 February 2017 on its 215th day. The report contains data covering 21 July 2016-23 February 2017 and 21 statutory decrees in total. You can download the report from the following link:

Attachments:
Download this file (Fact Sheet of SoE.pdf)Fact Sheet of State of Emergency_23022017[Fact Sheet of State of Emergency_23022017]2272 Kb
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Günal Kurşun is a Human Rights Defender

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Ass. Prof. Gűnal Kurşun, a well-known scholar in the field of International Criminal Law and Genocide studies teaching working at the Criminal Law Department of the Çukurova University in Adana and President of the Insan Hakları Gűndemi Derneği-Human Rights Agenda Association (IHGD-HRAA), member  of the IHOP-Human Rights Joint Platform, has been dismissed from his functions due to the New Statutory Decree n. 675, issued on October 29th.     

Since many years, Gűnal Kurşun is fighting for the respect of human rights and civil liberties, denouncing all forms of violence in an independent and impartial manner. A key figure in the human rights movement in Turkey, whose works and academic contributions range from women rights to Freedom of Expression, from minority rights to social, economic and cultural ones till his engagement within the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, his passion brought him  to choose to share his expertise in the field of human rights with new generations, in an attempt to provide his students with the relevant tools needed for the advancement of democracy in the country.

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OPEN LETTER to the Bureau of the Turkish Grand National Assembly

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OPEN LETTER

to the Bureau of the Turkish Grand National Assembly

From the Human Rights Organisations 

13 October 2016

 

Distinguished Speaker,

We write you this letter with reference to the statement of 1 October 2016 made by AK Party Deputy and Chairperson of TGNA Prisons Sub-Committee Mr Mehmet Metiner to Hülya Özmen Karabağlı the correspondent of Duvar Daily, which has not been disclaimed so far, as well as Mr Metiner’s speech delivered and attitude displayed at the TGNA Human Rights Investigation Committee meeting which was also published in Yeni Çağ Daily of October 6, 2016.

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Muzaffer Şakar, executive of Democrat Judiciary Association, Judge at Diyarbakır Court House and Human Rights Defender, must be released!

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Taken under custody on 11 August 2016, Muzaffer Şakar –executive of Democrat Judiciary Association and one of the judges at Diyarbakır Court House– is a human rights defender well-known to all institutions and bodies dealing with human rights issues and well-respected due to his work on human rights and specifically fair trial and problems of the judicial organs.  He served as a rapporteur of the Human Rights Institution of Turkey and, he is a human rights defender for all segments of the society.

Şakar is a jurist, who has long been raising the activities of the group that perpetrated the coup attempt within the judiciary. He is an adherent of professional ethics and principles as a jurist. His promotion as Category I judge has been delayed for four years as Şakar’s professional records were unjustly tampered with by two justice inspectors, who are still arrested due to their activities [linked to the aforementioned group]. He has waged a struggle for years against the unfair interventions of the inspectors in the personnel record. In spite of the fact that he is a successful jurist, he has been appointed to places considered as ‘exile’ and he has not been assigned active tasks. In the two books (one he wrote and the other, he contributed) he has raised the extra-legal practices and the organization, within the judicial system, of the [said] religious community since 2010.

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No To Coups and Coup Defenders!

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Regardless of its reasons, coups cannot be a solution anytime. Last night, we’ve witnessed an attempt of a coup in Turkey. According to some releases, 161 people died, including 41 police officers, 2 soldiers and rest civilians after this coup attempt done by a group inside Turkish Armed Forces, naming themselves as “Peace at Home Council”. It is understood that there are more than hundred deaths among the coup siders. The parliament building has been bombed. Thousands of people have been injured. 

We are supporting a democracy in which all kinds of thinking can be defended and organised, non-violent, respecting freedom of expression and press, depending on the constitution and separation of powers, accountable, binding of the rule of law and human rights, respecting the free elections, establishing a peace atmosphere and performing with all its rules and institutions. There can be disturbance of any political thinking, but the solution can never be searched in such anti-democtaric methods, especially in coups.

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Government statement regarding the establishment of the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey: the issue of the institutionalization of human rights is perceived fully from an instrumental perspective!

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Deputy PM and gov’t spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş has shared with the press the cabinet decree on the establishment of the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey”, an issue on the agenda of the cabinet during its 11 January 2016 meeting. Noting that the institution was taken up in the scope of a “package”, gov’t spokesperson pointed out that having been designed as a “condition for visa exemption” the said institution would be created for the purpose of “preventing torture” alongside with “countering potential rights violations based on discrimination in access to economic and social rights one may run into in the public or private sector” and added that it will never “interfere with the legislative, executive and the judiciary”. We are not aware of the content of the text since such an effort/study has never been imparted with the public opinion, in any format, until today. It is noted that the text has been “fine-tuned as a result of detailed work” and “will be referred to the TGNA in the following days”. Therefore, concerning this statement of the gov’t spokesperson, which ended up solely with his words “May it be auspicious for Turkey”, we are now sharing our views with the public opinion as to why his wish for “auspiciousness” will not be so:

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Urgent Call from Turkey’s Human Rights Organizations to the International Community

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With the interruption of the peace talks, the government of Turkey started, in mid-August, to implement a security policy that unlawfully restricts fundamental rights and freedoms in those cities and towns largely populated by Kurds. Since August 2015, long-term and consecutive curfews have been declared in the provinces of, and the towns attached to ŞırnakMardinDiyarbakırHakkari and Muş, and are still underway in certain cities and towns. During these prohibitions, national and international media, human rights or professional organizations as well as representatives of the parliament who wanted to identify violations of rights have been denied access to these cities and towns. According to the findings in reports drawn up by the very small number of civil society organizations which could make their way into the region in the face of huge obstacles, it has been determined that the civilian population has become the target of both snipers and heavy weaponry, which has been used  in an arbitrary fashion.

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Loss of a friend never easy

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I'm in Diyarbakır to fulfill my last duty to my friend. Tahir Elçi was not only a very good lawyer and a human rights defender, but he was also a very good friend of mine. We met in 2000.

As part of a group of human rights defenders, we were trying to establish the Turkish section of Amnesty International at that time and Tahir Elçi was involved in the Diyarbakır group. He dealt with Kurdish villagers' cases in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). He was an expert on torture, ill treatment and village burning cases. He had an ability to criticize objectively and I learned from him to look at both sides of the coin.

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Farewell, Tahir Elçi

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I've lost a friend I'll never be able to replace. I've lost a piece of my life. And now, for the first time, it occurs to me what torture it could be to live a very long life.

 

The death of a true friend is such a heavy weight. This is a very difficult column for me to write; I want to give Tahir his due, to describe who he really was, but it's so difficult. On Sunday evening I told Tahir's much-beloved wife Türkan, “When we tell people what sort of person Tahir was, they're not going to believe us; they're going to think we're just saying these things because he's dead now.”
The way he was killed has been compared to how Hrant Dink was murdered. And it really does resemble the Dink situation in many ways.

 

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