Last Sunday, North-Press got a copy of the results of the universal periodic review of the human rights situation in Turkey at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report issued by Maat Organization for Peace, Development and Human Rights as being an observer in the Council documented a series of human rights violations in Turkey, pointing out that Ankara ignores the recommendations of the Human Rights Council, which was displayed in its insistence regarding the violations of the ruling regime in Turkey.
According to the 7-page report, one of the most prominent human rights violations in Turkey is related to the issue of the enforced disappearance, and the number of enforced disappearance people since July 2016 reached about 969 people, in addition to the arbitrary detention, as more than 540 thousand people have been investigated since the failed coup attempt during imposing the state of emergency and the anti-terrorism law.
Journalists, lawyers and jurists were arrested for their work, as more than 120 journalists are in Turkish prisons, thousands of websites and social media pages were blocked, as well as party leaders have been arrested.
According to the report, during the recent universal periodic review of the situation of human rights in Turkey before the Human Rights Council, 124 countries submitted 321 recommendations to Turkey; and on January 30, 2020 during the report's approval session Turkey said it would study 302 recommendations and would respond to them before the beginning of the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, in turn, Turkey rejected 19 recommendations.
The report pointed out that during the review session, many countries criticized the Turkish government, including Germany, Canada, France, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia and Finland. They criticized and made recommendations regarding the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and the rights of journalists to become effective in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.
At least 20 countries have made recommendations directly related to freedom of the press, such as the arbitrary detention of journalists, attacks on media representatives and impunity, and censorship on the internet and beyond.
The report noted that many of the recommendations focused on ensuring the right to freedom of expression, whether through internet or abroad, lifting the blocking on websites, and ensuring the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration, and calling on many countries to immediately release detainees for their free expression of opinion, whether by demonstration or other means of expression, as many countries demanded the need to amend legislation, especially the law of terrorism, which is inconsistent with international standards, as well as protect the rights of minorities, which are violated by the Turkish authorities.
The report emphasized that many countries, including the United States and Sweden have called on Turkey not to use Article 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act as a tool of repression.
Uruguay and Armenia requested the abolition of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which makes it illegal to insult the Turkish state and its institutions, which Turkey keeps in effect despite the European Court of Human Rights ruling regarding the abolition of this law.
Slovenia also mentioned Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code related to insulting the President, and Sweden also raised Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code, which stipulates imprisonment for insulting.
In the report, the head of Maat Organization, Ayman Aqil said that while Turkey received dozens of recommendations to improve the human rights situation in the country, the Turkish authorities continued their repressive campaign against all forms of opposition; including large-scale attacks against political opponents for the rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as against the human rights activists and journalists, which was the focus of many countries during this session.
Aqil added: "We are deeply concerned about the unprecedented levels of repression that are taking place in Turkey, and it is now important that all the states of the Council meet to pressure the Turkish government to end its repressive policies and ensure that the Human Rights Council takes effective measures to confront the human rights crises in Turkey.