Saturday, May 17, 2008

Listening to Human Rights Activists

The pro-government paper Today's Zaman should be applauded for running a story critical of Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek. At yesterday's meeting of the Prime Ministry's Human Rights Coordination Councik, Çiçek left the room shortly after giving his remarks rather than staying and listening to and conversing about the concerns of the human rights activists with whom he was meeting. The activists are concerned with an increase in the number of documented torture cases and were intent to urge Çiçek to move forward with the new constitution currently stalled.

Also to its critic, the paper also mentions Hüsnü Öndül, chairman of the Human Rights Association (İHD). Öndül criticized AKP for not working closer with human rights groups and recalled the now defunct Prime Ministry's Human Rights Consultation Board. The Board stopped meeting after Professor Baskın Oran and İbrahim Kaboğlu were prosecuted under Article 301 for a report they published on the rights of non-Muslim minorities in Turkey.

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