Sunday, December 14, 2008

Turkish Rights Groups Document Dismal Year in Human Rights

From TDZ:
In a common statement they made on Wednesday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights Association (İHD) leader Öztürk Türkdoğan and Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) head Yavuz Önen expressed their concern that the world has yet to create an international order based on the rights and freedoms included in the universal declaration. "The demands the world has today are to establish peace based on rights and freedoms," said Türkdoğan.

The groups in their statement called for changing the Constitution to improve rights and freedoms in Turkey. Türkdoğan said human rights and democracy remained in the country as a chronically fundamental problem and that a change to the Constitution as well as many other laws was an absolute must to make certain democratic principles function.

Türkdoğan said Turkey's political parties laws, which impose anti-free speech provisions as well as language bans; the country's election laws that have higher election thresholds, making it hard to find representation for minority groups; and the ease of shutting down political parties in Turkey still marred the country's democratic improvement.

"The civilian and military relationship has still not been raised to that of a democratic country," Türkdoğan said. "The current legislation has aspects that are restrictive to freedom of thought and expression."
For full report, including a litany of documented violations, click here.

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