A group of experts from the Special Procedures of United Nations Human Rights Council have condemned the “terror” charges pressed against the rights defenders.
Stressing the arrest of Amnesty Turkey Chair Taner Kılıç, 14 lawyers from the People’s Law Bureau, rights defender and businessperson Osman Kavala, and 10 rights defenders on Büyükada, the experts said, “We call for the immediate release of all the human rights defenders and lawyers concerned in these cases, and we appeal to the Turkish authorities to drop the charges of terrorism against them”.
“These cases demonstrate a worrying pattern of silencing people whose work legitimately calls into question the views and policies of the Government”.
The experts said they were concerned that most of the activists remained in detention in conditions that may amount to inhumane or degrading treatment, welcoming the news that some had been granted bail on 25 October 2017.
“Ever since the coup attempt in July 2016 we have witnessed with alarm the arrest, detention and prosecution of people voicing criticism of the Turkish Government and working to protect human rights,” added the experts.
The UN experts
The UN experts: Ms. Annalisa Ciampi, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association;Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rappourteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Ms. Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.
The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.
Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. (EA/TK)