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Turkish (Turkiye)

Balkans Round-Table Meeting: Summary Report

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On April 3-4, the Human Rights Agenda Association (HRAA) hosted a Round-Table Meeting in Ankara entitled, “Regional Dialogue on Human Rights in the Balkans and Turkey.” Twenty-one participants, representing seven human rights organizations from the Balkans region and five human rights organizations from Turkey, met to share experience, expertise, and future plans for human rights activities. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce these organizations to one another, identify common issues and interests, and to develop a platform for future collaboration. The Meeting was generously supported by The Open Society Institute’s East East: Partnership Beyond Borders Program.

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Elçi: prosecutor expected to deepen probe into JİTEM suspects

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Lawyer Tahir Elçi*, who has been serving in Diyarbakır since 1994, has said that they expect the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor's Office to deepen the investigation into Ergenekon suspects who are known for their ties to extrajudicial executions in the Southeast.

Pointing out that Ergenekon prosecutor Zekeriya Öz has recently sent the case file to the Diyarbakır public prosecutor in relation to those links, Elçi said there are already several cases open in Diyarbakır, Silopi, Cizre and so on, related to those criminal acts, especially in the 1990s.

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Accidentally business class

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I had quite an interesting weekend. On Saturday and Sunday I participated in a meeting on Ergenekon in İstanbul. The meeting was hosted by the Young Civilians movement and the Human Rights Agenda Association. We have been quite irritated by disinformation campaigns about the Ergenekon case for a long time.

We invited intellectuals, writers, activists and human rights lawyers to discuss the popular allegations used in disinformation campaigns about the Ergenekon case abroad and in Turkey. We wanted to see the common denominators of prominent intellectuals and human rights activists in understanding this case. We were very surprised by the high level of interest and enthusiasm of the participants in our workshops.

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2009 Annual report on the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

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Strasbourg, 14.04.2010 – The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has issued today its third annual report on the supervision of the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

In 2009 1515 new judgments finding violations of the European Convention on Human Rights were brought before the Committee of Ministers for supervision of their execution, thus bringing the number of cases under supervision to 7 881. The compensation awarded to the victims in the new judgments 2009 amounted to some 54 million Euros.

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Genocide resolution: unwise move, unethical response

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I was once again embarrassed by the Turkish method of stopping the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress. Don’t misunderstand me; I find this resolution process wrong.

As I have written before, this resolution is a perfect example of political usage of human rights discourse, which is inherently in conflict with the spirit of defending human rights. It came forward with political force, and it was stopped by political force. It has no potential to contribute to anything. But the Turkish way of stopping it is deeply embarrassing.

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“Rulings anywhere that women must wear the burqa should be condemned - but banning such dresses here would be wrong” says Commissioner Hammarberg

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Strasbourg, 08.03.2010 - “Women should be free to choose how to dress, without interferences neither from their communities nor from state authorities” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.

Prohibition of the burqa and the niqab would not liberate oppressed women, but might instead lead to their further alienation in European societies” he said.

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Violence directed at Iraqi minorities marred poll

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Iraq's ethnic and religious communities are awaiting the results of the country's most important election since the US-led invasion and one that was also marred by violence and targeted attacks against minorities.

As polling closed on Sunday, Qussay Abbas, a Shabak member of the Provincial Council was gunned down by insurgents in Mosul, Iraqi Minorities Organisation (IMO) said in a statement.

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Turkey: Stop Violence Against Transgender People

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Multiple Murders Highlight Inadequate State Protection

(Ankara) - The recent murders of two transgender women in Turkey highlight  an ongoing pattern of violence and the urgent need for stronger protection measures by the government, four Turkish and international human rights organizations said today in a letter to Turkish authorities.

The groups called on Turkey to remedy the conditions that place transgender people at risk from acts of violence by enacting anti-discrimination protections, instituting programs to combat prejudice and hatred, and repealing laws that provide an opportunity for police to harass stigmatized groups.

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European migration policies discriminate against Roma people

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Strasbourg, 22.02.2010 – “European governments are not giving Roma migrants the same treatment as others who are in similar need of protection. Roma migrants are returned by force to places where they are at risk of human rights violations” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint.

The Commissioner stresses that the EU Directives impact differently on Roma than on other EU citizens. “The protective provisions of the ‘Free Movement Directive’ are breached much more easily in respect of Roma than any other identifiable group. Expulsions of Roma have been carried out in contravention of EU law. In other cases destruction of Roma dwellings has been used as a method to persuade Roma to leave ‘voluntarily’”.

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UN world report alerts to the condition of indigenous peoples

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The first UN world report on indigenous peoples uncovers alarming statistics on poverty, health, education, employment, the environment and human rights among other issues.

The publication entitled “State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples” is a joint effort by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. It was launched on 14 January in New York by the Forum’s Chairperson, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

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Language rights of national minorities must be respected – their denial undermines human rights and causes inter-communal tensions

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Language rights have become an issue of contention within several European countries, and as a consequence also between neighbouring states. While some governments take steps to strengthen the standing of the official language, national minorities are concerned that their linguistic rights are being undermined.

The spelling of personal names on passports, the displaying of street names and other topographical indications, the language used in schools, the language requirements when communicating with the authorities and the possibility to establish minority media – such issues are again being raised by minority representatives in several European countries. 

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