Human rights organizations and professional chambers were invited to a workshop at the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Justice on 14 February 2019 in Ankara, Turkey in order to deliver their assessments and recommendations within the scope of “Drafting of a New Human Rights Action Plan,” a subheading of the government’s second 100-day action plan.
The Ministry stated in the invitation that the participants would be expected to offer their views and recommendations on four main subjects, namely, the Right to Life and Ill-Treatment, the Right to a Fair Trial, the Right to Liberty and Security, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association.
We, the below-mentioned human rights organizations and chambers, decided to accept the invitation following long debates in order to offer our criticism and recommendations in these challenging times despite the severe set-back in human rights policies and the ever-increasing pressure/oppression that has been choking the civil society.
We would like to set forth that human rights and civil society organizations draw their strength solely from the long lasting human rights struggle they are founded upon, their grassroots, and from international law documents that have been brought about by the repercussions of such struggle in the field of law. At the workshop, therefore, we have talked about the fact that numerous human rights organizations were closed down, citizens were forced to live with the fear of arbitrary arrest, detention and prosecution; numerous human rights defenders were behind bars along with rights violations against women, children, LGBTI+ individuals, disadvantaged groups and prisoners, adding that all kinds of gross human rights violations were denied by the authorities, investigation and prosecution procedures have been rendered ineffective, and access to justice has become impossible.
We would like to underline our insistence on expedient return to a human rights policy on par with international standards, despite all odds, and the demonstration of a political will along these lines. We will be following up on our requests that we voiced at the workshop. We will also be following up on whether these recommendations, vital to the human rights community and everyone requesting that democracy and human rights be respected in Turkey, will be incorporated in the action plan and whether a political will will be set forth in order to put our recommendations into practice.
We, as human rights organizations and professional chambers that draw their strength from the victims we represent, from international human rights documents, and from the public opinion in Turkey, will maintain and defend our struggle and negotiation lines as always.
Human Rights Association (İHD)
Association for Monitoring Equal Rights (ESHID)
Citizens Assembly (formerly Helsinki Citizens Assembly)
Diyarbakır Bar Association
Turkish Medical Association (TTB)
Rights Initiative Association
Civil Society Association in Penal Execution System (CİSST)
Click to read the full report in English: 20190306_New Human Rights Action Plan_Report