Joint oral statement on Turkey during ID with the SR on HR while countering terrorism
On 14 March 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers alongside Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), delivered an oral statement on Turkey during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. The Interactive Dialogue took place during the 49th session of the Human Rights Council.
The statement reads as follows:
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, and Lawyers for Lawyers appreciate the Special Rapporteur’s work, including numerous communications to Turkey expressing concern about abuse of anti-terrorism laws for illegitimate prosecutions and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders.
Among those arbitrarily detained under Turkey’s overbroad terrorism laws are numerous lawyers. Since July 2016, human rights organizations have reported more than 1,600 prosecutions of lawyers; with more than 615 remanded to pretrial detention, and more than 450 sentenced to prison. Many lawyers are charged with the same overbroad anti-terrorism offences as their clients, in violation of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. Unfair trials, and ill-treatment of unlawfully detained lawyers and defenders are commonplace.
We ask the Council to urge Turkey to:
- Review and revise all anti-terrorism laws in line with recommendations of Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures, in full consultation with civil society;
- Immediately accept the Special Rapporteur’s request for a country visit, issued in 2014 with a reminder in 2017;
- Unconditionally release and drop charges against all legal professionals and defenders illegitimately detained under overbroad anti-terrorism laws; and
- Ensure respect for the UN Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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