Friday, May 7, 2010

TIHV & IHD Release Joint Report

The Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) and the Human Rights Association (IHD) have released a joint report chronicling a rise in violence and state repression despite the government's recent Kurdish initiative. From Today's Zaman's Ayse Karabat:
Mere discourse on a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question was enough to lead to a decrease in human rights violations last year, but the lack of concrete steps since then has resulted in an increase in violations in 2010, a joint report by the Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) has found.

“In the year 2009, the state officially recognized the Kurdish question, but since then the government has not taken constitutional or legal steps for a peaceful and democratic solution. As a result, in the year 2010 armed clashes resumed, although even the discourse on a solution in 2009 led to a decrease in the number of people who died in armed clashes,” the report indicates. According to human rights activists, statistics from the past several years show that concrete steps for the peaceful and democratic solution of the Kurdish question will lead to a marked decrease in violations of the right to life.

TİHV Chairwoman Şebnem Korur Fincancı said there are actors in Turkey who benefit from the atmosphere of clashes and tension and who are doing their best to prevent democratization.

“When there is a positive atmosphere, those forces create provocations in order to increase tension,” she told Today's Zaman. She also noted that the government talks about democratization and a peaceful solution while at the same time launching security operations in which many Kurdish politicians, including mayors, have been arrested.

“This makes us question the sincerity of the government regarding the democratization initiative,” she added, and underlined that pressure on human rights defenders is increasing, as some have been imprisoned and others, including herself, have court cases pending.
The report documents an increase in violations on freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom from torture. The report asserts that in 2009 police intervened in a total of 229 demonstrations, resulting in a total of six deaths, 356 injuries, 7,718 detentions, and 1,923 arrests. Ten cases were opened to close foundations, associations, and political parties. It also argues that impunity continues to exist for security forces who violate human rights, and urges Turkey to sign the additional protocol of the Convention Against Torture.

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