13 March 2017

Today, in Sirnak, Turkey, Dr Serdar Kuni will stand trial accused of providing medical treatment to alleged members of Kurdish armed groups. This is a direct violation of Turkey’s international legal obligations to protection of health professionals in order to allow them to fulfil their duties to provide care for those in need, without regard to any element of identity, affiliation, or political opinion. Dr Kuni is the Cizre Representative of IRCT member, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), and his trial is the latest in a long line of administrative and judicial harassment of the HRFT and its staff.

In a joint statement with other international health based organisations, the IRCT calls on the Government of Turkey to uphold international law and human rights in Turkey and in particular to:
  1. Immediately release Dr. Serdar Kuni, and drop all legal actions immediately and unconditionally.
  2. Respect and fulfil Turkey’s obligation to protect the right to health, medical neutrality, and freedom of association and expression; and
  3. Provide an effective remedy and reparation to victims of arbitrary arrest, detention, and judicial and legal harassment.
“We are extremely concerned to see that this crackdown on civil society continues to escalate. In this light, the IRCT is supporting an event today at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to bring the situation to the attention of the UN’s highest human rights body. We hope that this will lay the foundation for more robust action by the international community before irreparable harm is done to the essential fabric of democratic society in Turkey,” says Advocacy Director of the IRCT, Asger Kjaerum.