İHD’s responsibility to inform the public and mobilize state institutions in order to create conditions for prisoners to lead their lives in conditions worthy of human dignity stems both from the values that İHD holds and defends and from the principles in its statute. On the basis of this understanding, its activities and reports make an important contribution to the activities carried out to end and report rights violations. İHD shares violations of rights in prisons with the public and aims to mobilize authorities to remedy these violations with its annual, periodical, and special reports.
İHD monitors and reports the problems and injustice faced by prisoners through its branches covering cities, regions and the whole country. While carrying out these activities, it draws on many sources to collect information and data. With its 27 branches and 7 representative offices, İHD is the largest human rights organization working in Turkey. In addition to the rights violations reports it publishes, İHD also publishes reports on rights violations in prisons in cooperation with other non-governmental organizations and bar associations.
İHD receives many applications regarding violations of rights in prisons. Some of these applications are made directly by prisoners, while others are made by prisoners’ relatives or lawyers. Applications can be made online through the İHD website or directly to the branches and headquarters. Prisoners and their relatives also apply to İHD by letters. The association immediately informs the relevant state institutions about these applications in order to solve the problems. İHD writes to the Ministry of Justice, the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses, the Human Rights Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the Ministry of Health, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey (TİHEK), the Turkish Medical Association, the Ministry of Interior Law Enforcement Oversight Commission, the relevant prosecutors’ offices, the relevant prison directorates, provincial health directorates and other institutions specific to individual applications and provide the necessary information to stop rights violations. İHD follows up after the information procedures and, if necessary, sends lawyers to prisons to confer with prisoners to the extent of available means. After these procedures, it releases press statements and prepares reports in order to inform the public.
It should be added that İHD carries out joint work with other non-governmental organizations working in the field of prisons and prisoners’ rights, such as the Association of Lawyers for Freedom, the Progressive Lawyers Association, the Federation of Legal and Solidarity Associations of Families of Prisoners and Convicts, the Turkish Medical Association, provincial medical chambers, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and associations of families of prisoners and detainees. As a result of this joint work and coordination, we are able to access important information and data.
This report consists of applications received by the İHD headquarters, branches and regional representative offices, regular prison reports, and data obtained during prison visits.
When the applications made to our association are classified according to their content, it is seen that the applications are mostly concentrated on violations of the right to health, prevention of release, prevention of social rights, torture and ill-treatment, discrimination, right to a fair trial, economic and social rights, communication and information rights. In addition to these, prisoners also apply for legal and financial support. İHD also receives many complaints from prisoners regarding their requests for transfer to prisons in regions close to their families, which are not taken into consideration by the prison administrations.
Applications made to our association from prisons mostly concern multiple rights violations and prisoners seek assistance. There are a significant number of applications to our association on many different issues particularly including the situation of sick prisoners, isolation, strip search, usurpation of the right to communication, etc.
The present report reveals a wide range of rights violations in prisons. At least 10,789 violations were identified in 2022 under all titles. Violations were recorded according to the number of individual applicants and the number of prisoners included in the applications. However, considering that these violations were faced by all prisoners, it would not be an overstatement to say that violations occurred hundreds of times more. Violations, letters sent by prisoners, prisoner-lawyer conferences, applications made by families and relatives, and compilation of data collected by İHD’s branches on rights violations in prisons bring about this report.
Click to read the English version: sr2023_2022 Prisons Report