We raise awareness on the human rights situation in Turkey and advocate for Turkey’s full compliance with its human rights obligations arising from the international treaties. We advocate for the halting of serious and systemic human rights abuses, the restitution of the rights of victims of emergency rule, and facilitate co-operation with national and international civil society organisations.
Our advocacy activities aim to contribute to the development of an effectively functioning, independent and impartial judicial system through which human rights and fundamental freedoms are effectively protected and to assist Turkey’s transition out of the state of emergency to a more ‘normalised’ political and legal situation.
TLSP and LLG made submissions to the UNHRC as part of Turkey’s third Universal Periodic Review process. The submissions focus on:
the effect of the current security situation in the east and southeast of Turkey on fundamental rights and freedoms
continued discrimination against the Kurdish population
the effect of measures adopted under the State of Emergency (including mass dismissals of civil servants, an increase in reported cases of arbitrary detention, torture and ill treatment, erosion of the independence of the judiciary and the active persecution of legal professionals)
ongoing impunity with regards to alleged human rights violations conducted by state officials
The submissions can be downloaded here.
The Turkey Litigation Support Project, together with 24 prominent lawyers' and human rights organisations, sent an urgent action letter (available here) to the UN Special Rapporteurs this week expressing serious concerns regarding the arbitrary detention and long-term imprisonment of 18 human rights lawyers from Halkın Hukuk Bürosu (HHB, the Peoples’ Law Office) and Ҫağdaş Hukukçular Derneği (ҪHD, the Progressive Lawyers Association) in violation of fair trial principles and of their right to freedom of expression.
The urgent action letter requests the Special Rapporteurs to urge the Turkish authorities to facilitate the immediate acquittal of lawyers Ayşegül Çağatay, Yağmur Ereren, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Yaprak Türkmen, Ahmet Mandacı, Zehra Özdemir, Ebru Timtik, Özgür Yılmaz, Behiç Aşçı, Sukriye Erden, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Suleyman Gokten, Aytaç Ünsal, Engin Gökoğlu, Aycan Çiçek, Naciye Demir, Ezgi Cakir and Barkın Timtik; and the urgent release of those in detention pending appeal. We further requested the Special Rapporteurs to urge the Turkish authorities to:
stop all forms of harassment, including judicial harassment, against these individuals as well as other lawyers and human rights defenders in Turkey, and allow them to perform their professional and lawful functions without intimidation or improper interference
immediately stop using oppressive methods against individuals, particularly lawyers and other human rights defenders, who are critical of the human rights violations perpetrated by the State authorities including the security forces
ensure the independence of the judiciary by law and practice and to prevent judges, prosecutors and lawyers from undue interferences