The IRCT network embraces today 144 rehabilitation centres and programmes from all over the world, representing an international movement against torture and for victims of torture. As one of the members of this Council we thank IRCT for their support to HRFT.
Turkey cracks down on civil society organisations, fines Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Europe’s largest IRCT member, was fined by the country’s Social Security Institution (SSI) due to an alleged administrative irregularity. Despite demonstrating no irregularities through official records and other strong evidence, the centre was fined 85,286 Turkish Lira (approximately 30,000 Euro) as well as a premium debt of 41,000 TL.
In the summer of 2013, the SSI conducted an audit at the HRFT’s headquarters to investigate whether any members of staff officially registered as part-time workers were actually working full-time. The audit coincided with the anti-government Gezi Park protests where police tortured hundreds of protesters. During and after the protests, nearly 300 people sought treatment at the HRFT. The audit comes also at a time when Turkey is cracking down on civil society organisations.
“Considering the time of audit and public authorities’ approaches to human rights defenders/organizations in Turkey, we believe that the aim of this unfair fine is to punish and intimidate HRFT for its activities. With this unfair fine, Turkey has also violated several international human rights,” says the organisation’s official statement.
“The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey is an internationally recognised organisation that for the past 25 years has contributed significantly to the treatment and rehabilitation of torture survivors in Turkey. To subject the centre and other human rights defenders to discrimination shows that Turkey has no interest in protecting those who provide rehabilitation services to torture survivors or work to uphold human rights in Turkey,” says Victor Madrigal-Borloz, IRCT Secretary-General.
The IRCT calls on the Turkish authorities to respect the claims of the HRFT and to fulfil its commitment to investigate the growing complaints of harassment and persecution against human rights defenders and NGOs, as well as sanction those responsible.