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Maat “Human rights defenders in Turkey are being subjected to widespread violations”

Maat “Human rights defenders in Turkey are being subjected to widespread violations”

Sherif Abdelhamid “The scene of human rights violations in Turkey is persistent until now”

During the 41st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which was launched on June 24, 2019 and continues until July 12, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights delivered an intervention on violations against human rights defenders in Turkey during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

Maat condemned, during its intervention, the practices and violations against human rights defenders in Turkey committed by Erdogan’s regime, ranging from arrest, imprisonment and threat of physical assault to the closure of hundreds of human rights organizations on a final basis. Also, the intervention added that since the failed coup attempt in July, 2016, Turkey has renewed the state of emergency seven times, and therefore 1,300 associations and non-governmental organizations have been closed. Laws have been amended to pave the way for the Turkish authorities to restrict fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association, under the pretext of maintaining national security or public order and, subsequently, arrested a large number of activists and human rights defenders.

 Sherif Abdelhamid, Research and Studies Unit Manager at Maat, said the state of emergency officially ended in July 2018, however, it has been replaced with the Anti-Terrorism Act which is not different from the Emergency Law in terms of arbitrary provisions and has further expanded the powers of the president and concerned state governors, which are already extensive, to restrict gatherings and mobility.

Abdelhamid added that the Turkish authorities are restricting the right to freedom of peaceful assembly; sometimes imprisoning university students because of peaceful protests against the Turkish attack on Afrin. 18 students have been arrested and more have been tried on charges such as “spreading terrorist propaganda” and “insulting the president.” The Ministry of Interior banned weekly gatherings of some Turkish organizations. Abdelhamid asserted that the scene of human rights violations in Turkey is persistent and what is happening now in Turkey is similar to “collective punishment for the Turkish citizens”.

It is worth mentioning that Maat participates in the 41st session of the Council with an international mission consisting of 26 members from 8 European and African countries: Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, Latvia, Romania, Somalia and Kenya.

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