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Turkish (Turkiye)

High Commissioner opens first ever UN Human Rights office in European Union

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The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Wednesday opened the first ever UN human rights office in the European Union, and said she hoped this development would mark a new era of closer cooperation between the UN human rights system and European institutions based in Brussels, Strasbourg and Vienna, as well as with individual EU states.

The new Brussels office is the 11th regional office set up by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which is headquartered in Geneva but has never before opened a national or regional office in Western Europe.

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Protestants, collective unconsciousness, fundamentalist

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We all are prisoners of our own preconceived perspectives. The stronger the prejudices we have, the thicker the walls of the prisons that hold us captive. When it comes to religions, unfortunately, these prisons are much more isolating than we can imagine. Protestants are one of the most stigmatized groups in Turkey.

Having had the privilege of being their lawyer for many years, I believe I have gained a deeper understanding of the collective unconsciousness of the state elites in Turkey.

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With and for the poor,” the planning key to protect urban dwellers from climate change, says UN expert on World Habitat Day

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GENEVA -- “The rapid expansion of informal settlements and the particular vulnerability of low-income groups to the effects of climate change is a major challenge,” warns Raquel Rolnik, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. In her view, “the theme of this year’s World Habitat Day –‘Planning our Urban Future’- is an urgent call to address the challenges faced by urban dwellers, specially the most vulnerable.”

Disasters caused by extreme-weather are not simply a result of natural events, but reflect also a failure of urban planning and development policies” stresses the UN expert,” noting that around one billion people worldwide live in precarious and overcrowded housing conditions, in slums or informal urban settlements, many located on sites at risk from flooding or landslides.

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Turkey: Commissioner Hammarberg recommends further efforts to protect human rights for minorities, asylum seekers and refugees

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Strasbourg, 01.10.2009 –The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, has initiated a dialogue with Turkish authorities on minority rights and on the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. He published today reports on these two issues based on a mission from 28 June to 3 July during which he visited Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. With the reports and their recommendations he also made public the written comments by the Turkish government.

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Uncertainty and injustice for minority refugees from Iraq – new report

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Refugees from Iraq’s minorities face insecurity and risk losing their religious and cultural identity as they try to seek refuge in neighbouring countries and Western Europe, a report by Minority Rights Group International says.

In a landmark new report on the situation of Iraqi uprooted minorities, MRG says that many of the people who flee Iraq undertake very dangerous journeys to get to Europe often only to be met with restrictive asylum policies, discrimination and in some cases forcible return.

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Bloody Turk!

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

I am not a religious person. I am not Kurdish. I am not gay. I am not Christian. I am not Armenian. I am not Roma. But I have spent all my life defending these people's rights.

I am a human rights defender. When I describe myself, I say I am a human rights defender, a lawyer and a writer. It was during my first time in London in 1998 that I realized, no matter what I do, I was a “bloody Turk” for some people. Ironically, I was working for the Kurdish Human Right Project there, and we were taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights, as a result of which I felt deeply threatened by the deep state elements in my country. When I met with the Armenian community in London, I turned into a representative of Turkey. It was the first time my “Turkishness” took precedence over all my qualifications.

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“The stigmatising of persons with intellectual disabilities is a neglected human rights crisis” says Commissioner Hammarberg

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Strasbourg, 14.09.2009 – “Decision makers should fight harder against the marginalisation and stigmatisation of people with intellectual disabilities and ensure their participation and integration into society” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today.

Persons with intellectual disabilities are rarely consulted or even listened to and a great number of them continue to be kept in old-style, inhuman institutions. Conditions in some of the “social care homes” are appalling in many countries.

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UN human rights chief lists tackling discrimination and impunity among top priorities

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GENEVA (15 September 2009) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Monday that discrimination remains a “scourge” that affects every country, and that combating it had become one of her office’s top priorities, along with tackling impunity for attacks on civilians during armed conflict and for a variety of other human rights violations.

Pillay, who has just completed her first year at the helm of the UN human rights office (OHCHR), laid down a road map of six main priority areas in a wide-ranging opening address* to the autumn session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. She named 47 different countries and territories from all across the world in connection with themes ranging from the effect of the recession on the world’s poorest people to the brutal suppression of criticism leading in some cases to the prolonged detention, persecution or murder of political opponents, human rights defenders and journalists.

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On Sept. 11, Armenian massacres, butterflies, the caliphate and the EU

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

What would you think if I offered you the thought that there is a strong link between the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and these heinous attacks on the twin towers in New York? I call this the suspended butterfly effect. The classic butterfly effect theory holds that if a butterfly flaps its wings in China, it will set off a tornado in California. The historical butterfly effect also worked like that: The wind created by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire unfortunately turned into a tornado in New York in 2001. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the abolishment of the caliphate (the central religious and moral authority for all Muslims) created a huge vacuum in the Muslim world, a vacuum from which the whole world still suffers.

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The guru, the Gypsy-Buddha and Madonna’s message

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

 Where does all this hatred come from? Why is it that all of a sudden racist and anti-Roma feelings are surfacing in Europe? I have never read any satisfactory explanation about this phenomenon, and I do not give any credit to these old-fashioned explanations talking about the unemployment rates in those countries.

In my opinion, we can only start to understand the root causes of this upsurge of racist violence if we can penetrate the subconscious level of this racist mind. When I look there, I see a deep inferiority complex about identity, about being European.

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Enforced Disappearances, a growing human tragedy

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GENEVA – “It is vital to draw more attention to the issue of Enforced Disappearances as it still remains severely underreported, particularly in certain regions of the world,” said Jeremy Sarkin, chairperson of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, presenting the Group’s statement to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared.

In spite of that,” stressed Sarkin, “the Working Group has dealt with more than 50,000 cases since it was established in 1980,” highlighting the Group’s concern over the growing number of cases of enforced disappearances around the world.

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