Joint oral statement during ID with SR on protection human rights while countering terrorism
8 March 2021

Joint oral statement during ID with SR on protection human rights while countering terrorism

Turkey

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and Lawyers for Lawyers delivered an oral statement during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, on the overbroad anti-terrorism laws used to persecute human rights lawyers in Turkey. The dialogue took place during the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The statement reads as follows:

Mme. President,

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and Lawyers for Lawyers thank the Special Rapporteur for her report. We appreciate her August 2020 communication to Turkey with other mandate holders raising “serious concern” about Turkey’s vague and overbroad anti-terrorism laws. This legislation is being used to violate freedoms of opinion, expression, and association, along with fair trial rights, the right of access to legal representation, and the right to liberty.

Corrosion of the rule of law in Turkey has escalated dramatically since the attempted coup of July 2016. Numerous lawyers have been arbitrarily detained for representing clients in politically sensitive cases, and many have been charged with the same terrorism-related offences as their clients, in violation of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.  Turkey currently imprisons more lawyers, including women lawyers, than any other country.

We share the dismay of the Special Rapporteur and other mandate holders about the “preventable” September 2020 death in custody of woman lawyer Ebru Timtik, who died while on hunger strike to demand fair trial rights in Turkey.

Turkey’s ongoing failure to heed recommendations of Special Procedures and treaty bodies is disturbing. We call upon the Council:

  • To urge Turkey to immediately implement all recommendations of Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies and to immediately accept the requests for country visits by the Special Rapporteur and other mandate holders; and
  • To undertake Council measures for enhanced monitoring of human rights in Turkey.

Thank you, Mme. President.

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