To Press and Public Opinion; Torture is Absolutely Prohibited!

July 19, 2016

To Press and Public Opinion

Torture is absolutely prohibited! No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergence, may be invoked as a justification of torture. 

As the two most prominent human rights institutions of Turkey, we once again underline our stance against military coups, like we did last Saturday: We are unconditionally against all coups, coup attempts, and anti-democratic practices. The only viable solution is to uncompromisingly defend, to the greatest extent possible, the rule of law, democracy, and the respect for the human rights.

Our greatest consolation is that the coup attempt, plotted by those who displayed felonious actions, including murder of civilians and the bombardment of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, has failed. When the incidents that took place on the evening of July 15 are taken into consideration, it is more than a foresight to say that in a probable success of the attempt, loss of lives and human rights violations would reach to even more dramatic levels.

We underline these points as two human rights institutions, established in order to cope with severe human rights violations brought about by the Military Coup of 12 September 1980, and to avoid the re-occurrence of such incidents. Even 36 years after this coup, a full recovery of the severe physical, psychological, and social destruction it has caused could not be obtained, despite all our efforts.

In order to reveal the responsible of the failed coup attempt of July 15, investigations are immediately launched and thousands of military members and civilians are detained. Nevertheless, the media coverage of the detentions -images and news- are worrying us. Images showing tens of individuals with traces of physical violence on their face and body, stripped naked, rear-handcuffed, and either laid on the ground or placed in a hayloft; are being distributed via media without any reservation.

These images and news are worrying us, as they suggest that the detained individuals are subjected to torture and ill-treatment. As the HRA, which has documented tens of thousands of torture and ill-treatment incidents since its establishment on 1986, and as the HRFT, which provided physical and psychological treatment and rehabilitation to more than 16,000 individuals subjected to torture and ill-treatment since 1990; we would like to strongly emphasize that no one can be tortured and ill-treated, no matter what his crime is. This is an unconditional prohibition that is imposed by the international conventions and documents, to which Turkey is a party.

In May 2016, the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) -the authority and the supervisor power of which is recognized by Turkey, as a signatory of the UN Convention Against Torture- has assessed the fourth periodic report on Turkey; and has accepted the ‘Concluding Observations’ document including warnings, recommendations and propositions. In these ‘Concluding Observations’, the Committee expressed its concerns related to several credible reports mentioning torture and ill-treatment incidents concerning individuals detained by law enforcement officers. The Committee reminded Turkey of the absolute prohibition of torture, as defined in the Convention Against Torture, Article 2, Second Paragraph:  “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” This reminder by the Committee is even more meaningful under the conditions we are living in today.

Besides, as mentioned in all the international documents, medical examinations conducted in the entry to and exit from detention should take place in the health institutions. However, it is reported that with the pretext of emergency, these examinations are taking place in the security departments or elsewhere, and that the medical doctors are forced to leave their health institutions in order to draw up these reports.

It is evident that the crime committed by plotters of the recent coup against the people of Turkey is a crime against humanity. Concerning these plotters, all the necessary legal processes, as defined in the Turkish Constitution and legal codes should be carried out. They should be justly tried, and absolutely punished as foreseen by our laws, so that in future, people who have access to the use of monopoly of violence in the name of the society shall not find the courage to attempt at a coup again. Having said that, this punishment should by no means involve torture and ill-treatment, both of which are strictly prohibited by the universal law.

At this juncture, we would like to address the issue of impunity that encouraged the coup plotters. If the culprits of the 12 September 1980 military coup have been seriously -instead of perfunctorily- tried in the past, no one could have venture to attempt at a new coup. The current government being in the first place, all the governments share the responsibility of the severe consequences of the impunity.

To conclude, we underline that torture and ill-treatment is absolutely prohibited. Despite the severity of the crimes committed, coup plotters cannot be subjected to torture and ill-treatment. In line with the warnings and reminders of the UN Committee Against Torture, we call on the authorities to fulfil the requirements of the universal law, to respect the human rights, and to enable the visits of the detention places by independent human rights corps.

We once again stress that as HRA and HRFT, we will continue to effectively and resolutely follow our mission in terms of identification, documentation, and rehabilitation of individuals affected by the attacks on civilians with heavy weapons, as well as those subjected to torture and ill-treatment, while also pursuing our role in the legal processes related to these incidents.

We would like to remind that those who have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, as well as those who have been affected by the severe social violence atmosphere related to the coup attempt can apply to all our centres for assistance, in the direction of their demands and to the extent our resources allow.

Human Rights Association

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

Death Penalty Can Not Be Brought Back!

July 18, 2016

Following the coup attempt on July 15, bringing back the death penalty is put on agenda once again, with the discussions regarding the punishment of the coup plotters. Turkish penal laws and regulations contain ample clauses that define the punishments to be given to coup plotters. The revival of the discussions around death penalty by the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is completely unacceptable.

The fact that the issue is brought forward by the President Erdogan, who claims to be a political follower of Adnan Menderes, the former Turkish Prime Minister executed, poses ethical problems.

In a country where prime ministers, student leaders, and many others have been sentenced to death penalty and been executed, attempts at bringing back the death penalty  will have severe legal and political consequences, both at the national and international scenes.

Most importantly, death penalty is a form of state violence that suppresses the right to life. In other words, it is a wilfull homocide committed by the state. Right to life should be protected as the first priority. Suppression of right to life by the state as a punishment causes irreversible and irreparable damages, and leads to violation of humanitarian values. Therefore, it cannot be accepted by the human rights defenders.

UN Human Rights Committee Report dated 1982, clearly expresses this:  “It is the supreme right from which no derogation is permitted even in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation (article 4)..The protection against arbitrary deprivation of life which is explicitly required by the third sentence of article 6 (1) is of paramount importance. The Committee considers that States parties should take measures not only to prevent and punish deprivation of life by criminal acts, but also to prevent arbitrary killing by their own security forces. The deprivation of life by the authorities of the state is a matter of the utmost gravity.”

After a long period of struggle, Turkey has suspended all regulations related to death penalty, Article 38 of the Turkish Constitution being in the first place.

Besides, the European Human Rights Convention annexe 6 concerning the abolition of death penalty was accepted by Turkey on 26/06/2003 with the law no. 4913 suspending the death penalty. This law has been promulgated on 01/07/2003. The Protocol is ratified by the decree no. 2003/6069 dated 15/08/2003. The Protocol entered into force in Turkey on 01/12/2003 with the deposit of the ratification document to the Council of Europe General Secretariat.

Turkey is also a part to the EHRC annexe 13. This protocol is accepted by the “Law no. 5409, concerning the acceptance of the Protocol no. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Concerning the Abolition of Death Penalty in All Circumstances”, dated 16/10/2005. The ratification of the protocol has been resolved by the decree no. 2005/96849, and dated 17/11/2005. In Turkey, the Protocol No 13 that came into force on 01/06/2006. Article 1, entitled “The Abolition of the death penalty” is as follows:

“The death penalty shall be abolished. No one shall be condemned to such penalty or executed.”

Alongside the above mentioned protocols, Turkey has also accepted and promulgated the optional protocol no.2 annexed to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This protocol aims suspension of death penalty. For a country that has accepted the most essential codes of the United Nations and the Council of Europe, stepping back from these protocols will mean stepping out of the human rights system, and becoming a bad example at the international scene. Pact sunda servanda is an essential principle of the International Law.

Suspension of the death penalty is one of the most important requirements of the European Union. Stepping back from the gains will have severe political, economic, legal, cultural, and sociological problems.

President Erdogan, who governs the country via a de facto presidental system, and who is increasingly tending towards an autocratic government is bringing antidemocratic suggestions up for discussion. Silence of the democratic elements within the Justice and Development Party in the face of such a situation will be remembered as a shame in the Turkish democratic history. Not only Justice and Development Party, but all political parties should stand up against this kind of antidemocratic propositions incompatible with human rights.

Kurdish problem being in the first place, Turkey cannot bring solutions to its major problems. This created an atmosphere of on-going violence. In this context, bringing back the death penalty will lead to new political, sociological, and legal problems and will turn into a sword of Damocles hanging over the opponents.  Briefly, Turkey has suspended the death penalty and shall not bring it back. It should never be forgotten that human rights and democracy defender will struggle against any such attempt.

 

Human Rights Association

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

We are Against Any Kind of Coup d’état, Attempt to Stage Coup d’état, and Anti-democratic Practices and Defend Real Civil Democratic Life and Respect for Human Rights

16 July 2016

On 15 July 2016, there was an attempt to stage coup d’état in Turkey. There is still danger of coup d’état. Many civilians, soldiers and police officers either lost their lives or were injured resulted from violence, clashes during this attempt. Since military vehicles, fighter jets were active in city centres particularly in civilian settlements, neighbourhoods, and clashes took place in these areas lead to serious concerns and fear among citizens. On the other hand, we also observed that there are some cases that some citizens showed reactions beyond democratic principles, and some lynches attempts. In short, Turkey is heading towards a fast and deep chaos of which extent is unknown.

We, as Human Rights Association (İHD) and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), would like to underline that we defend democracy and human rights principles under any condition and at any time. This is our fundamental position and we have been defending this position since we established our organisations. We condemn any kind of coup d’état and attempt to stage coup d’état, which mean complete denial of democracy and fundamental rights, freedom, and violence and lynches that remind civil war scenes. We offer our condolences to victims’ families and wish a speedy recovery for injured people.

This chaos is directly related to a fact that Turkey has not been able to solve its democracy and human rights problems. The Government has not implemented democratic principles such as plurality, transparency and participatory, but harmed fundamental rights and freedoms as well as rule of law, passed anti-democratic laws such as impunity law for soldiers-which reinforces military tutelage-, adopted policies based on violence rather than solving the Kurdish question through democratic and peaceful means, and conducting war at home as and in other countries. All these problems lead to a deep political and state crisis in Turkey.

Unfortunately, there are some statements on bringing death penalty back to Turkey lead to serious concerns about possibilities of our future. The only way to exit from this chaos is to obey and respect for rule of law, democracy and human rights, and to adopt peaceful policies at home as well as in other countries.

Democratic forces in Turkey will continue struggle for genuine democracy and against military or coup d’état regimes, anti-democratic practices, and increasing civilian authoritarian administrations. IHD and HRFT would like to repeat that we will main our human rights activities to determine and document human rights violations, to actively provide legal and medical assistance.

No to coup d’état and anti-democratic administrations!

Democracy and human rights are most important issues!

 

Human Rights Association (İHD) 

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT)

These Releases are by Virtue of Great Efforts and Solidarity of All!

30.06.2016

We are happy to inform you that 13th High Criminal Court has just issued interlocutory decision of release for Şebnem Korur Fincancı (President of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, HRFT) and Erol Önderoğlu (Turkey Representative of Reporters without Borders), who were arrested together with Ahmet Nesin (Journalist) on 20 June 2016 on charges of “making terror propaganda” through content and visual of news of Özgür Gündem when they served as the editors-in-chief for one day as a part of the Editor-in-chief on Duty” campaign of Özgür Gündem to provide solidarity and defend press freedom against a number of investigations it has faced. We are expecting that they will be released today. Their first court hearing will be held on 8 November 2016.

While Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Erol Önderoğlu will be released today, there is not any decision about Ahmet Nesin (journalist) yet since his case is followed by a different court. We will of course continue to follow his case closely.

We can say that this decision of release is a hopeful development and somehow reparation for suppression against human rights defenders in Turkey. Yet, we should not forget that this decision cannot eliminate lawlessness and insubstantiality of the case against them, which also means violation of human rights. Thus, we will work on showing the public what this arrest and case against Şebnem Korur Fincancı, who has dedicated her life to preventing human rights violations, mainly torture and ill-treatment supporting life of torture survivors in Turkey and all around the world to rebuild their lives; and pursuing justice for the crime of torture and other gross/serious human rights violations, means for human rights defenders in Turkey.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your valuable efforts and solidarity for their release; it had a great contribution to having this good news.

Warm regards,

HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION of TURKEY

Statement from HRFT for Releasement of HRFT President Prof.Şebnem Korur Fincancı

 

21 June 2016

Press Release

Today, we are gathering together in order to talk about and discuss the ways of building solidarity networks both within the country and also internationally, in regards to the arrests of these three valuable persons, namely; Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur Fincancı, who were referred to judicatory for arrest after giving their testimony to the public prosecutor on the date of 20.06.2016 and were thereafter arrested.

After she was referred to the judicatory for arrest we have already asked: “Do you know what it means to attempt to arrest our dear president Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı who has devoted herself to the prevention of torture and to the struggle against the violation of human rights in order to put an end, not only for our country but also for the World as a whole?”

The answer to this question is given by;

  • The memories of thousands of people at the mass graves, who are the victims of the genocide in the middle of Europe, in Bosnia,
  • The bodies of thousands of Palestinians who are subjected to torture in Palestine and Israel where tragedy of Middle East is being experienced,
  • The voice of a young man who has lost his life as a result of torture in Bahrain,
  • The People who’ve been subjected to violations that took place at Mavi Marmara Ship,
  • The Victims of torture, clinging to life at Abu Gharib,
  • The solidarity network among the students from South America to Africa, for the struggle against torture,
  • And, United Nations, while declaring Istanbul Protocol as the most important means for the protection of human rights!

Moreover;

  • Baki Erdoğan, who was killed as a result of torture in the year of 1993, Manisa Youth who were subjected to torture in 1995, Süleyman Yeter who was killed as a result of torture in 1999,
  • European Court of Human Rights which reminds the states that Istanbul Protocol is the only guide for the documentation of torture since the second Manisa case,
  • İll inmates who were kept alive by her strong-mindedly,
  • Basements, which were burnt down; health workers who were killed; the bodies of dead children who were kept in the fridges before being buried in Cizre,
  • and the memories of the corpses which were tied at the back of the panzers in Şırnak that will never be forgotten.

They explain us what exactly this arrest means!

If there are any, who do not know or who do not want to know, we would like to remind that; the voice of conscience, which bears witness to truth, keeps record of truth and resists to tyranny to spread this truth, CAN NOT be imprisoned!

The arrest of the president of HRFT, and as a matter of course of HRFT, whose raison d’etre is to struggle to put an end to torture in our country and all around the World; is an attempt to hinder efforts being made against torture and violation of human rights.

Until this unlawful prosecution is terminated, it is self evident that, we,as HRFT, will continue an effective and democratic struggle together with all the concerned individuals and institutions for everyone who has been and is being subjected to torture and violation of human rights not only here, in this geography, in which we live but also all around the World.

This unlawful prosecution to which our president Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Journalist-Author Ahmet Nesin and Erol Önderoğlu,  are subjected must be terminated immediately. We don’t have any doubts that by the solidarity and collective struggle of human rights advocates both within the country and internationally, we will terminate this unlawful prosecution as son as possible.

Within this context,

– Today (21 June 2016) in İstanbul with HRFT, Turkish Medical Association (TMA), Human Rights Association (IHD), Association of Forensic Specialists (AFS), Association of Independent Journalists (AIJ) and with other concerned institutions, a solidarity visit will take place to the Özgür Gündem Newspaper and during this visit a press release will be made.

– Tomorrow (22 June 2016) with the call of IHD and with the participation of all the concerned institutions and individuals, in 34 cities where IHD has an Office, events will be launched with respect to this unlawful prosecution.

– The events which will be launched on the 26th June, on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, that is announced by United Nations, will be organized especially  in honour of Prof.Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı.

– The events and programmes which were started yesterday by the human rights institutions both within the country and at the international platform, in regards to these arrests, will be shared with the public after their dates are ensured.

 

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

Executive Committee

Police Violence Targeted Human Rights Defenders and Peace Activists in İzmir

                               ihd-tihv

09.02.2016, Ankara

Upon the call of İzmir Peace Bloc, civil society organisations and activists came together to hold a press conference yet there was a police intervention even before the press conference started. As a result, 49[1] people were arrested in İzmir.

Due to the Governorship of İzmir directive all press conferences by İzmir Peace Bloc, which Human Rights Association (IHD) İzmir Branch and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) İzmir Office hold observer member status, are prevented by police forces. Joining these press conferences or even being present at the press conference venue are considered enough to be arrested. Activists are subjected to excessive use of violence and arrested after they face reverse standing handcuff.

On 9 February, 49 peace activists including İHD İzmir Branch President Ms. Gurbet Uçar, HRFT Executive Committee member Mr. Coşkun Üsterci, İHD Board member Mr. Nizamettin Aktaş and Egitimsen (Teachers’ Union) İzmir Branch No 1 President Mr. Bahri Akkan were arrested. Riot police forces, which intervened and used excessive force against human rights defenders, used rubber bullet and shot İHD Executive Committee member Mr. Mehmet Aker’s leg and he was injured.

Our friends were kept in police vehicles for over three hours since there was no arrest warrant by a public prosecutor. Then, they were taken to İzmir Security Directorate. Ms. Gurbet Uçar was released by police forces.

The Governorship of İzmir should stop its illegal practices, which the Governorship attempt to exercise in any democratic event and are contrary to human rights.

Our executive committee members and activists must be released.

We call on the Government to obey UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1998) and to initiate all judicial, administrative investigations against responsible officers.

Human Rights Association (İHD)

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT)

[1] 38 of them including HRFT Executive Committee member Mr. Coskun Üsterci were released on 9 February 2016.

Urgent Call from Turkey’s Human Rights Organizations to the International Community

6 January 2015

With the interruption of the peace talks, the government of Turkey started, in mid-August, to implement a security policy that unlawfully restricts fundamental rights and freedoms in those cities and towns largely populated by Kurds.

Since August 2015, long-term and consecutive curfews have been declared in the provinces of, and the towns attached to Şırnak, Mardin, Diyarbakır, Hakkari and Muş, and are still underway in certain cities and towns. During these prohibitions, national and international media, human rights or professional organizations as well as representatives of the parliament who wanted to identify violations of rights have been denied access to these cities and towns. According to the findings in reports drawn up by the very small number of civil society organizations which could make their way into the region in the face of huge obstacles, it has been determined that the civilian population has become the target of both snipers and heavy weaponry, which has been used  in an arbitrary fashion.

According to reports prepared by rights based organizations, 1,3 million people have been impacted by the curfews; more than 120 civilians –including children and the elderly– have lost their lives[1]. Many people have been injured, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Arbitrary detentions and arrests have occurred; and civilians are being subjected to torture and maltreatment in detention centres and in the open. Intrusion in telecommunication networks restricts the right to information and freedom of communication.  By an official decision to send away teachers from the region, education has been disrupted without a deadline, and health services have also been suspended. Due diligence in protecting civilians is not being demonstrated in any sense and they  are not even provided the opportunity to meet minimum daily needs such as the right to food and water. After the curfews, no immediate and explicitly effective investigations have been conducted. Trial and punishment of those security forces that violate rights are being rendered impossible. The policy of impunity expands and continues, getting more severe.

Although curfews have been declared pursuant to article 11/C of the Provincial Administrations Law, with the justification “apprehending the members of the terrorist organization” and “ensuring the physical safety of the people and their properties”, jurists largely agree that the aforementioned law does not entitle the relevant senior public officer to declare such a prohibition, which would impact the rights and freedoms of the entire people living in a city or a town. Pursuant to constitutional article 13, such a restriction can only be introduced through ‘law’. Curfews declared upon the governorate’s instructions are in breach of the constitution. The fact that the framework of the curfews and the sanctions thereof are not subject to the law means that security operations conducted in this period and rights violations too are not subject to any legal supervision.

Other than in times of war, in populated areas where a state of emergency or martial law has not been declared, the security forces are not entitled to use heavy weaponry and ammunition in violation of the principle of absolute necessity without ensuring evacuation of the civilian population. During the planning, command and control of operations alleged to serve the purpose of protecting the lives of civilians from unlawful violence, it is unacceptable to perpetrate arbitrary and disproportionate force which does not accord to the duty of care expected from the state in a democratic society. The lethal force used by the government of Turkey in the aforementioned provinces and districts is currently in gross violation of the principle of proportionality to be ensured between the intended objective and the force used for this purpose in a democratic society.

The environment of conflict unfolding has turned human rights defenders into targets of state violence and political assassination. President of the Diyarbakır Bar Association and human rights defender Tahir Elçi was killed while he was delivering a press statement whereby he called for an end to security operations and resumption of peace negotiations.

The situation is dire and our call is urgent!

As civil society organisations we demand the international community to remind the Government of Republic of Turkey that:

  • curfews declared in the absence of any legal basis are unacceptable,
  • lethal force cannot be used by any means whatsoever in a disproportionate and arbitrary fashion,
  • during security operations obligations stemming from international human rights law, international criminal law as well as the humanitarian law cannot be suspended,
  • human rights organisations, professional organisations, representatives of local government and of the Parliament, struggling to end, identify and penalise right violations and to reflect the process in total transparency to the international community, should be supported, and
  • we call for a bilateral ceasefire, the cessation of conflict and the resumption of  peace negotiations to be carried out in an official and transparent manner in the presence of independence observers.

 

Signatory members of the Coalition Against Impunity

Batman Bar Association, Diyarbakır Bar Association,  Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Turkey, Human Rights Agenda Association, Human Rights Association, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Şırnak Bar Association, Truth, Justice and Memory Center

[1] Updated numbers on violations of the right to life as a result of curfew by different sources are as follows: According to figures of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey’s Documentation Center, as of January 6, 2016, at least 151 civilians have lost their lives within the period of the declared curfews in 17 towns of 7 districts. According to Human Rights Association’s Documentation Unit, from the start of armed conflict in July 24, 2015 until January 6, 2016, 134 civilians living in cities with declared curfews have lost their lives. 12 people have lost their lives in the year 2016 during curfews in towns of Sur, Cizre and Silopi. People’s Democratic Party’s Information Center which also daily monitor the violations of the right to life, state number of people who lost their lives to be 152 as of January 6, 2016.

Human Rights are Non-Negotiable, Intangible and Irrecusable Rights!

10 December 2015

“To Live in Peace” is a human right and we want PEACE!

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be adopted and advocated by the United Nations.

Honour and self-value, traits that are inherent in all human beings have formed the foundation and universality of human rights. Inspired by these rights, the Universal Declaration has been of great importance to humanity.

The Universal Declaration, approved on 10th December 1948, advocates the acceptance of equal, indivisible, and inalienable rights that is applicable to the humankind, encouraging a world based on freedom, justice, and peace. On the occasion that these rights are abused or neglected, the declaration approves the use of legitimate self-defence in order to protect one’s self from persecution and oppression.

Despite this, an international system based on protecting, enhancing, and implementing these rights and liberties, mentioned in the Universal Declaration, has been absent up until this day. On a worldwide scale, we have failed to reach an understanding that that rights, liberties, and immunities belong to all humans regardless of their race, complexion, sex, gender, language, religion, belief, ethnicity, political conscious, and philosophical conviction.

In accordance to this, communities and societies from around the world are staging a resistance of great importance, in the form of legitimate self-defence, for their values and rights, which have been suppressed and eroded by policies imposed by states and state-like actors.

Throughout the year the international realm has witnessed military coups, civil and international wars, and occupations, which have all led to severe human rights violations; the right to life, torture, crimes against humanity, genocide, and mass migration being amongst them. Nonetheless, 2015 has been a year with intense and common violations against the right to life.  In this case, the Middle East, especially our neighbours Syria and Turkey have been in the foreground. ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliated radical Islamist groups have staged atrocious attacks in France, Turkey, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, which have increased the prevalence and intensity of violations of the right to life, giving it a completely new dimension.

Unfortunately, Turkey has played its role in severe violations against human rights in the year of 2015. Unlike previous years, despite the variety and intensity of human rights violations, there has been a dramatic rise in the prevalence of the violations against the right to life. Particularly, the consecutive bomb attacks that occurred in Diyarbakir, Suruç, and Ankara have increased in brutality and have pushed the boundaries of our minds and souls. The 7th June elections had resulted in the abolition of a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question, which led to the continuation of war and conflict targeting, again, the right to life. In particular, the illegal and round-the-clock curfews imposed on cities and neighbourhoods under siege have resulted in the indiscriminate murder of the elderly, young, women, and children. On the other hand, we were shaken by the stories of Syrian refugees in their attempts to cross the Aegean Sea in search for a peaceful life in Europe. As always, women, transsexual, and labour killings continued.

Another violation that has been prominent in Turkey has been against the freedom of thought, press, and speech. The most recent case has been against the Cumhuriyet Newspaper editorial Can Dündar and the Ankara representative Erdem Gül, leading to their imprisonment.

And of course, the most depressing event for us, the human rights defenders, has been the murder of our beloved colleague, friend, and comrade Tahir Elçi.

Let us look at the categorised human rights violations of 2015 listed below:

RIGHT TO LIFE

 

Violations against the right to life are perpetrated by the State’s security forces as well as third party individuals whom gain the confidence in doing so due to the ruptures within the state’s structure and ability to protect its civilians. In accordance with the statistics of the IHD and HRFT, between 1st  of January to 5th of December 2015 violations are as follows:

  • Extrajudicial killings of law-enforcement officers, due to disobeying the stop warning, or the uncalculated and random firing of shots has resulted in 173 deaths and 226 injuries. Of these, 135 deaths and 191 injuries occurred after the endorsement of the Internal Security Act on 3rd of April 2015
  • Suicide bombers resulted in the death of 5 civilians in Diyarbakır, (June 5th, 2015), 33 civilians in Suruç (July 20th, 2015), and 100 civilians in Ankara (October 10th, 2015). In total 138 civilians have lost their lifes and a minimum of 929 civilians were injured.
  • 4 civilians died whilst under custody.
  • 19 civilians killed by unknown perpetrator.
  • At least 28 civilians died in prisons due to unknown causes.
  • At least 33 persons were killed under doubtful conditions whilst completing their compulsory military service.
  • 5 civilians were killed due to mines and unclaimed bombs, leaving 22 seriously wounded.
  • Due to the conflicts 171 soldiers, policemen, guards, 195 militants, 157 civilians, in total 523 people have died.
  • Since 23rd November, 255 women have been murdered due to male violence.
  • 4 civilians have died due to hate crimes, racist attacks, and lynching.
  • Up until the 1st of December, 1593 workers have lost their lives due to accidents or attacks at work.
  • At least 16 refugees and migrants have died whilst transiting to Turkey. 160 have been injured via torture or gunshots.

TORTURE and OTHER FORMS of ILL TREATMENT

 

Torture is still amongst the most violated human rights in our country. The security forces continue to resort in torture in places of supervision, detention centres, and prisons. In addition to this, law enforcement officers have used excessive, intense, and disproportionate levels of force during rallies and demonstrations, where torture is being carried out in the public domain. Exclusively, the states brutality against a peaceful approach to the Kurdish question has resulted in ruptures and conflict within South-eastern Turkey. In cases concerning the Kurds, the protection of the rights of those under custody has not been implemented, torture and ill treatment has become a widespread tool.

  • 560 civilians have appealed to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey with claims of being subjected to torture and ill treatment between the months of January and beginning of December 2015. Of these claims, 347 cases have occurred within the same year. Alongside this, the Psychosocial Solidarity Network Program had 330 applications of those affected by the Ankara massacre.
  • According to the statistics of the Human Rights Association (IHD), in the first 11 months of 2015, 1433 civilians have been tortured whilst under custody both in and out of detention centres.
  • In response to the constant appeals against torture and ill treatment carried out in the Military prisons and disciplinary barracks, no such investigations have been carried out. Law number 4681 states that the prisons and detention centres monitoring committee must monitor and evaluate such institutions however; this structure has failed to carry out its duties influenced by legal restrictions. The public is only made aware of such cases if the torture implicated ends one’s life.
  • The phenomenon of impunity has made it easier for such cases of torture and ill treatment to become so widespread. Prosecutors are not put on trial or not trailed fairly. In most cases, prosecutors are trailed on the basis of allegations hat require less of a punishment.

The KURDISH QUESTION

 

Immediately following the 7 June elections, Turkey has been driven back to scenes that resemble the 90’s with the escalation of severe human rights violations against Kurds, which has been a significant barricade to peace and democracy in the region for decades. In particular, the Kurdish populated cities and districts have been illegally kept under siege for months with the imposition of round-the-clock curfews. The illegal curfews have severely affected the life of all civilians, restricting their right to electricity, water, food, and health services as well as the right to obtain information and free communication. The establishment of a special warfare environment imposed by the security forces where civilians, regardless of their age and gender, have been murdered is highly concerning. The state of emergency or state of war declared in these particular regions has led to the collapse of the economic and social life. On the other hand, the mayors of the relevant cities and districts have been detained or removed from office. Such cases have been a direct threat to the free will of the people and to democracy. Nevertheless, detentions and arrests related with the curfews have increased in hundreds. According to the statistics of the IHD and HRFT;

  • Due to the conflicts a total of 523 people have died; 171 soldiers, policemen, and guards, 195 militants, and 157 civilians. 338 security forces, 145 militants, and 70 civilians have been injured, making it a total of 553.
  • 17 mayors have been arrested, 15 have been suspended from work (9 of whom are arrested).
  • The amount of village guards has been on the rise in 2015.
  • Throughout 2015, 6744 civilians have been detained and 1285 have been arrested in regards to allegations of being associated with the KCK, HDP/BDP, or HDK.

As IHD and HRFT we advocate and insist in the peaceful and democratic resolution of the Kurdish question. We urge both sides to end the conflict and strengthen the conditions in which they can agree in the peaceful negotiations of matters.

We support the Dolmabahçe Agreement, declared on the 28th of February 2015, and encourage the implementation of the arrangements in accordance with the agreement and both parties to prepare negotiation conditions.

We urge the government to lift the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan and to prepare the administrative, legal, and political grounds for peaceful negotiations.

In order to create a peaceful and war-free world, we must ensure that the humankind is given their human rights. Turkey must abandon its political plans for the Middle East, and with regards to the Rojava Cantons, respect the peoples will for freedom, sovereignty, and democracy by recognising the cantons and keeping good relations with them.

Turkey’s anti-Kurdish, Shia, Alawite, and Alevi stance in the Middle East must change. Turkey must play an effective role in ensuring peace and leading the struggle against ISIS, who is responsible for barbaric genocides carried out in Diyarbakir, Suruc, and Ankara in Turkey, Kobane in Rojava, Paris in France, Beirut in Lebanon, and against the Russian plane in Egypt.

FREEDOM of THOUGHT, EXPRESSION and RELIGION

 

In terms of freedom of speech and thought, the year of 2015 has witnessed many and serious violations, first and foremost the AKP government has resorted in significantly worrying levels of pressure and control over the media. Throughout the year we have witnessed the criminalisation of several journalists, authors, and human rights defenders who have either been detained or arrested, journals and books being confiscated and banned, newspaper offices being forced to close, and opposition newspaper offices and journalists being intentionally attacked.

The Alevi community’s demand for equal citizenship has been left unanswered. In addition to this, the government has failed to regard the Cem Houses as places of worship and remove the compulsory religious studies lessons forcefully imposed on students, openly ignoring the demands of the European Court of Human Rights.

Alevis, Christians, and Jews have been subjected to threats and hate speeches from radical Sunni Muslims.

The failure to recognise the conscientious objection for joining the army remains to be an important human rights violation.

According to the HRFT statistics and documents:

  • 30 journalists, press-publication workers, or newspaper office owners are currently arrested.
  • We have continued to witness the confiscation of publications. The latest example has resulted in two managers of the Nokta Journal being arrested.
  • 105,958 websites have been blocked access to. These statistics were much lower in the years 2013 and 2014, 35,001 and 40,773 respectively, which is increasingly concerning.

The FREEDOM of ASSOCIATION

 

The two general elections that occurred in 2015, both June 7th and November 1st, have witnessed immense attacks against political parties, with HDP being the ultimate target. The HDP have been denied the right to campaign in a free, safe, and peaceful environment as members and representatives have repeatedly been physically attacked, party buildings were harmed, and many lynch attempts were perpetrated.

Not only the failure to protect the rights of voters and electorates wasn’t ensured, Turkey has continued to maintain the world’s highest threshold level at an astonishing 10%.

  • In total 432 Party buildings have been attacked throughout 2015; 417 belonged to the HDP, 11 to AKP, and 4 to CHP.
  • During 6-8th September there has been systematic, simultaneous, and widespread attacks against over 100 HDP party buildings.
  • Throughout the year several unionists have been detained.

The FREEDOM of ASSEMBLY

 

We have again witnessed extensive violations against the right to demonstrate throughout the year. Law enforcement officers have resorted to disproportionate and excessive force and violence, including pressure water, plastic bullets, chemical weapons, and occasionally real bullets, against peaceful protestors.

Throughout the history of the Republic, those in position of political power have been able to easily use police violence as a means of managing individuals, societies, and communities. The AKP government has reached a peak in the use of police force against those who criticise and oppose its increasingly authoritarian policies. Without exception each and every member of differing societies, communities, and individuals have been subject to police brutality under the demands of the AKP government- from the Kurds to the proletarian, Alevis to women to LGBTI defenders.

According to the HRFT statistics and documents:

  • 210 civilians have been injured as a result of law enforcement officers interventions to assemblies and demonstrations.
  • 3377 civilians have been arrested during law enforcement officers’ interventions in demonstrations, with 201 being arrested.
  • In total, 256 events have been banned.

PRISONS

 

Prisons have been amongst the highest institutions in which human rights violations have taken place.

  • Following 28th February 2015, there are 164,461 prisoners within Turkey (February was the last month that Ministry of Justice declared these figures). The number of prisoners in 2014 was 154,179 and was significantly lower, 59,429, when the AKP first came to power.
  • 2,165 children are prisoners.
  • Within the first 11 months of 2015, 28 prisoners have died as a result of suicides, torture, accidents, illness, neglect, feud between other prisoners, and other reasons as such.
  • Prisoners are deprived of their right to health services. Throughout 2015, 756 prisoners, 300 of them seriously ill, are waiting to receive access to medical services. The European Court of Human Rights declared by the decision on Gülay Çetin vs. Turkey, on the 5th of March 2015, that Turkey had failed to protect prisoner’s health and continuously imprisoned those with serious health conditions, which is considered a breach of the Torture Ban on behalf of Turkey. Furthermore, it’s not legally and conscientiously acceptable that prisoners with life-threatening health conditions are being subjected to human rights violations under article 6411 confirmed on January 24th, 2013, which states the terms of postponing the execution of convicted prisoners solely ‘on the conditions that they will not pose a threat to the general public’, despite having medical reports outlining the critical health conditions and dependency on carers.
  • Solitary confinement and isolation imposed since 2000 aims to destruct the physical- social-emotional wellbeing of prisoners. Prisoners are constantly being denied the right to socialise with their peers within the current system. The Ministry of Justice’s circular, dated January 22nd, 2007 (45/1), encouraging the socialising of 10 prisoners for 10 hours a week is not being implemented. The F Type İmralı Prison is the most frequently abused and violated prison in terms of isolation and solitary confinement that must be closed immediately.
  • Despite the Ministry of Justice’s promises, there have been no improvements of transparency in terms of giving an access and platform to civil institutions to review and take part in decisions held within prisons in the name of improving the conditions. The National Human Rights Institution of Turkey has been given the role to provide an effective mechanism to prevent these violations, as opposed to the OPCAT, which has been far from meeting the requirements.
  • Children prisoners are finding it extremely difficult to adapt to prison conditions, including occasions of torture, rape, molestation, neglect, and as a result have resorted in self-harm. Many have appealed to IHD in regards to this. The sole purpose of prisons is to have a preventive and educational impact, which Turkey fails to understand and apply. Therefore, in accordance with inhumane practice juvenile prisons must be closed.

ECONOMY and WORK LIFE

 

The harsh and brutal working conditions have sustained their roles in posing great threats to worker’s rights throughout the year of 2015. With the introduction of the flexible working model and the “individual contracts” model, we are made to live under the modern form of slavery.

  • Workers have been stripped of their right to a safe environment and life as mechanisms to maintain safety and protection in the work environment has failed to develop. Turkey is amongst the leading countries in deaths as a result of ‘accidents’ at work. In the first 11 months of 2015, 1593 workers have died due to accidents or murders in the work place.
  • The workers of the subcontractor remain to be the most critical problem faced in the work environment. They have been subject to ill treatment, and have been sacked, as a result of joining trade unions and campaigning for their rights.

ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS

 

  • Despite the international and national agreements professing the right to healthy, sustainable, and clean environment, even according to our own constitution, there have been no attempts in securing, protecting, and advancing the environmental conditions.
  • Turkey is ranked 23rd among the world countries contributing to an increase in carbon gas emissions.
  • In the name of economic growth and maintaining surplus Turkey has leached the environment with cyanide in order to extract gold, destroyed valleys to build WWFs, built numerous wind turbines in places destined for agriculture, ignored the genocide of culture, history, and nature via the construction of dams, has divided the water resources to international monopolies, and has never failed to show its love for nuclear power plants. In conclusion, Turkey lacks interest in maintaining a safe, healthy, and prosperous environment and continues to violate the right to a safe life.

GENDER and SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION

 

  • Turkey is home to intense discrimination and persecution against women. The Judicial system remains to contain sexist elements, consequently giving a platform to the judicial and law enforcement officers to discriminate women. The constant reminder of a man’s authoritarian nature makes life difficult for women.
  • Despite there being innovations and improvements of women’s role within the household, women are still subject to discrimination once they stand up for freedom and their identities; they are punished with abuse and death. In the first 11 months of 2015, 282 women died as a result of male violence, 367 were injured, and 132 were subject to sexual abuse and rape.
  • We live in an environment that limits one’s sexual orientation into two categories, female and male, creating the platform for mass discrimination against LGBTI individuals. Those who consider themselves as being LGBTI are subject to violent, degrading, and exclusive treatment, which targets their right to life. The security forces have not failed to join this tyranny by torturing, degrading, and abusing LGBTI individuals, which again targets their right to life.
  • Throughout the first 11 months of 2015, at least 4 transsexuals have died as a result of hate attacks.

REFUGEES and ASYLUM-SEEKERS

 

  • States do not only hold the burden of protecting the rights of their own national citizens. Our territory is in the position of being regarded as a ‘transit country’ by great numbers of refugees and migrants. These citizens are those who have been subject to their individual rights being violated by their home state. Throughout their journey of fleeing from their countries they are at the risk of being abused and tormented by smugglers, which can also lead to their death. Refugees who have been captured on their journeys, and await the decision to be deported back to the warzone, face extremely harsh conditions within expulsion centres. The poor physical conditions of the centres make it impossible for the humanitarian and mandatory needs of the refugees to be assured. Additionally, these centres still lack a legal status.
  • Turkey has been insufficient in providing the legal, humanitarian, and mandatory human rights of refugees and asylum-seekers.
  • Over 2 million refugees have found refuge in Turkey as a result of the Syrian civil war. According to the official figures of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are precisely 2,072,290 Syrian refugees within Turkey. Of these refugees, 259,439 live in refugee camps provided by AFAD, those remaining are forced to live in cities and provide for themselves. However, the Deputy Prime Minister, Numan Kurtulmuş, has stated that the number of Syrian Refugees in Turkey is as high as 2,225,147. Considering the technical difficulties in registering refugees in Turkey, it is estimated that these figures have reached 2,500,000; roughly 1 million of these are school children.
  • Only one in ten refugees or asylum seekers are in refugee camps. The remaining refugees/asylum seekers are forced to provide for and protect themselves, where only 15% have access to humanitarian aid agencies. Refugees/ asylum seekers are left to face the difficulties of life and live in inhumane conditions, work under the minimum wage, send their children to beg, and work as slaves in order to provide food and shelter for their families.
  • Refugees whom intend on travelling to European countries face human rights violations, including the right to life, and brutal forms of oppression from Turkey as a result of the increasing pressure being made by the European Union. Refugees have faced lynch attempts by Turkish nationalists, making it extremely difficult for the social and economic integration of them into society. 12 Syrian children have passed away as a result of fires breaking out in refugee camps, which is amongst the most heart-breaking human rights violations we have faced in 2015.

IN CONCLUSION

 

Despite the 68th anniversary of the acceptance of the world’s most contemporary human rights document, our evaluation and findings have revealed the failure of the institutionalisation, application, and importance of human rights- especially in Turkey. In previous years, it was our custom to promote the minimum requirements that must be met in order to proceed towards resolving these issues. This year, something as such is not the case. Today there is only one demand that must urgently be met in Turkey: the immediate restoration of peace. In cases where peace is not achieved, violations against the right to life and other human rights cannot be prevented.

We would like to express our joy concerning the liberation of Sengal, in Iraqi Kurdistan, from ISIS. On the anniversary of the human Rights day, we respectfully commemorate all the human rights campaigners and peace advocates that are not with us today. We hope that the assassination of the ambassador of peace and love, Tahir Elci, will be the last of all deaths.

We celebrate the Human Rights Day of the humankind, in hope that peace will be restored in our lives immediately.

EuroMed Rights, FIDH, Human Rights Association (İHD), Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) and Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly strongly condemn escalating violence and serious human rights violations in Turkey

Public Statement

21.09.2015

               logolar

Paris-Ankara-İstanbul (21 September 2015) – EuroMed Rights, FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), the Human Rights Association (İHD), the Human Rights Foundation of                   Turkey (HRFT) and the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly call on the Turkish government to immediately halt the violence and ensure that any security measure complies fully with the country’s obligations under international human rights law. Our organisations are deeply alarmed by the deteriorating situation in Turkey. A strong security offensive launched by the authorities over the past two months under the pretext of countering terrorism has led to grave violations of the right to life, severe limitations to the right to freedom of assembly and expression, crackdown on independent media and repressive actions targeting human rights organisations and activists.

Following the Turkish government’s resolve to mobilise against ISIS, in reaction to a suicide bombing which killed 33 and left over 100 wounded in Suruç, Sanliurfa on 20 July, the authorities have launched a massive counter-attack that has targeted both ISIS and the  PKK. Numerous killings have taken place, targeting both Turkish citizens and the Kurdish people. About 50 civilians, over 121 police officers, soldiers and village guards and 57 HPG/PKK militants are reported to be have been killed since 21 July. Mass arrest operations, often on unclear charges, have also been conducted. Allegations of ill-treatment and abuse while in detention, including pre-trial detention, have been reported and several detainees claim to have been denied medical treatment while in custody.

Cizre, south-eastwards of Syria, was under siege from 4 to 13 September without any break. The round-the-clock, open-ended curfew declared by the Şırnak province Governor  confined residents to their homes and denied people access to food and other basic necessities, including medical care. 73 patients are reported not to have had access to dialysis during the curfew. There was water and power cuts in Cizre. In addition, people were not allowed to bury their dead. As a result dead bodies were  being kept in refrigerators at people’s homes or workplaces. Violent clashes between Turkish security forces and the Revolutionary Patriotic Youth Movement (YDG-H), the PKK’s youth wing, continued in the city, leaving many wounded and killing some, including unarmed civilians. According to the Turkish Interior Minister, the casualties would amount to one citizen and seven “terrorists”, whereas human rights organisations report that 22 civilians may have been killed. Injured people had no access to medical treatment as there were no ambulances or because they were prevented to do so by security forces.

The media and internet ban has been reinforced, leading to the progressive silencing of                   free and independent media. Court orders have been issued blocking websites and Twitter accounts on ground that they have been promoting terrorist propaganda. As tensions increased between the Turkish government and PKK, pro-government protesters attacked leading newspaper Hürriyet‘s offices last week. This followed another two attacks earlier this year. Another newspaper, Daily Sabah, has also been attacked, as well as offices and headquarters of the pro-Kurdish HDP party. The police has also raided a weekly news magazine, Nokta, on accusation that it had mocked President Erdogan.  Arrests of journalists, including foreign journalists, deportations of three international correspondents – freelance journalist Frederike Geerdink, and Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury from Vice News – over the past two weeks and alleged politically motivated firings of journalists critical of the government have placed media freedom and pluralism under serious threat.

This curb on independent media is particularly worrying at a time where the situation in the country makes independent and critical reporting essential to ensure adequate coverage and document abuse on both sides” said Öztürk Türkdogan, IHD President “Authorities must immediately lift the restrictions imposed on-line media, halt the harassment against critical media outlets and strongly condemn the attacks against them and the opposition party. Perpetrators must be held accountable”.

Human rights organisations and activists are also prevented from conducting their activities, particularly when monitoring the situation and providing free legal and medical aid. The risk of them facing administrative charges and judicial investigations, possibly imprisonment, is high. The house of IHD Şırnak Branch’s President Emirhan Uysal, was raided by police forces and lawyer Deniz Sürgüt was arrested and sent to prison. Both are charged with accusations of joining a press conference on “autonomy” and being member of an illegal organisation and carrying and commercialising guns, respectively.

Attacks against protesters, including Kurdish protesters, across Turkey, as well as failures to protect them against violence by extremist groups have also been reported. Over 100 demonstrations, including peaceful ones such as the one organised in Istanbul by peaceful movement Peace Block to which IHD is a member shortly after the Suruç bombing,  have been banned, and protesters have been dispersed by the police forces.

The latest events in Turkey go to show how space for human rights is shrinking dramatically. The EU Commission proposal to include Turkey in the common list of safe countries of origin sounds more ironic than ever now’ said EuroMed Rights President Michel Tubiana. ‘Turkish authorities need to stop criminalising the defence of human rights and reinstate a climate of peaceful negotiations’, added EuroMed Rights President.

Our organisations strongly condemn the escalating violence and recent attacks perpetrated by the government against civilians, particularly the Kurdish community. We also condemn restrictions to media freedom and the right to free assembly and mass arrests operations conducted by the state security forces. We urge the Turkish government to launch prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into allegations of abuse or ill-treatment at the hands of police forces and into the attacks perpetrated against media outlets and the opposition party HDP.  Human rights organisations and activists must be able to carry out their work without restrictions and harassment against human rights defenders must stop.

The Turkish authorities have long used counter-terrorism laws and security concerns as a pretext for targeting the opposition, particularly the Kurdish minority, and silencing critical voices in the country” affirmed FIDH President Karim Lahidji “This can no longer be accepted. The international community must take a firm stance against the grave human rights violations that are taking place in Turkey and urge all parties to the conflict to immediately halt the hostilities and return to the negotiating table so that elections can take place in an appeased climate and the peace process can restart”.

The measures undertaken further undermine an already fragile peace process in Turkey and are in blatant contradiction with the country’s international human rights obligations.

****

 

Figures gathered by FIDH and EuroMed Rights member organisation IHD show that 2686 people, including 127 children and 5 foreign nationals have been arrested between 21 July-28 August. Of these, 136 people were allegedly affiliated to ISIS, 22 to the Parallel Structure[1] and the others were members of   the KCK/PKK and other leftist groups.

352 people have been detained, 33 of which would belong to ISIS, 4 to the Parallel Structure and the rest to the PKK/KCK. 11 children have also been detained.

 

IHD has documented at least 213 cases in which people have been abused while in detention.

 

According to data gathered by IHD 132 people including 12 children would have been seriously wounded during demonstrations that took place across the country since 21 July. This number does not include those who did not go to hospitals for fear that they would be detained or because they have been prevented to do so by security forces.

About 50 civilians, over 121 police, soldiers and village guards and 57 HPG/PKK militants are reported to be have been killed since 21 July, according to data available to  IHD.

 

[1]              « Parallel Structure » is a term, which the Turkish government uses to describe a religious group led by Mr. Fetullah Gülen. Although there was a cooperation between this group and the Government until recently, the government now fights against it. See for more information: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/11397876/A-parallel-state-within-Turkey-How-the-countrys-democracy-came-under-attack-from-two-mens-rivalry.html.

Force Feeding of the Prisoners on Hunger Strike Cannot Be Acceptable!

12 August 2015

In spite of the opposition of the Israel Medical Association (IMA), the amendment “Preventing Harm Caused by Hunger Strikes” recently adopted by the Israeli Parliament opened the way to have prisoners on hunger strike to be forcibly fed by physicians.

We heard with deep concern that on August 10th Palestinian prisoner Lawyer Muhammed Allan for whom the Red Cross authorities announced alarming state of health was taken under intensive care for forced feeding.

As we stated in our letters addressed to Benjamin Netanyahu, Premier and Health Minister, and to Silvan Shalom, Vice Premier and Minister of Interior: “None of international agreements conventions, declarations and protocols, reflecting hundreds of years of experience and also binding for the State of Israel allow for forced-feeding of persons without their voluntary consent. Beyond this, it is in no way legitimate to dictate to health professionals including physicians to ignore their professional medical ethics. Any operation on any person’s body without his or her consent is torture and health professionals cannot be agents of such operations.”

We call on the State of Israel, civil society organizations and human rights organizations to take urgent action in relation to this human rights and medical ethics crisis created by Israel. We declare, in this context, that we are ready to undertake all relevant duties and responsibilities.

Central Council, Turkish Medical Association

Turkish Medical Association, Human Rights Branch

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

For letters sent to Benjamin Netanyahu, Premier and Health Minister, and Silvan Shalom, Vice Premier and Minister of Interior:

http://www.ttb.org.tr/en/index.php/tuem-haberler-blog/179-ttb/1296-israeli