Ahead of Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations (UN), Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a statement situation of human rights in the country.
“Over the past four years, the Turkish authorities have detained and prosecuted perceived government opponents, journalists, activists, and human rights defenders on broad and vague terrorism and other charges for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression and other non-violent activities,” it said.
“The huge number of journalists, politicians, and perceived government critics in prison and on trial flies in the face of the Turkish government’s public statements about the state of human rights in the country,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at HRW.
“Countries at the UN review should urgently press Turkey to address the sharp decline in respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and to carry out real reform,” he said.
“Turkey’s disregard of human rights is a disservice to its citizens, who deserve to live with dignity and freedom,” Williamson added.
HRW said UN member states participating in Turkey’s UPR review should urge President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration to the following:
- End the arbitrary and prolonged detention of activists, politicians, human rights defenders, journalists, and writers, and prosecutions based on their non-violent activities instead of credible evidence of criminal activities.
- Ensure an impartial judiciary, remove political pressure on judges and prosecutors, and put laws in place that protect human rights
- End the use of blanket bans to impose arbitrary and disproportionate restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly.
- Carry out the European Court of Human Rights’ rulings that Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş should be immediately released from their prolonged and arbitrary detention.
- Review all articles of the Turkish Penal Code, the Anti-Terror Law, and other laws that are used to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, and the right to access to information, with a view to repealing or amending them to comply with international human rights standards.