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UN: Turkey’s 20-month-old state of emergency is attack on Human Rights

Mass arrests, torture and arbitrary sackings are denounced by the United Nations. Pastor Andrew Brunson is one of the many imprisoned after the failed coup in 2016.

SOURCES Reuters AUTHOR Evangelical Focus GENEVA 20 MARCH 2018 17:24 h GMT+1
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. / Official Facebook page Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey should put an end to the state of emergency that has led to mass arrests, torture and the arbitrary sackings.



The United Nations Human Rights office calls President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “promptly end the state of emergency and restore the normal functioning of institutions and the rule of law”.



Between July 2016 to December 2017, the government in Ankara has arrested nearly 160,000 people and 152,000 civil servants have been sacked, “many totally arbitrarily”, a new report says.



These numbers include Protestant Pastor in Izmir Andrew Brunson. The American faces a lifetime in prison, charged with being “a member and executive of the terrorist group” that tried to bring down Erdogan. The case is built on the the inforations of a secret witness. Speaking to the UN two weeks ago, Brunson’s daughter denounced the imprisonment as “absurd”.



 



HUMAN RIGHTS HAVE BEEN CURTAILED



The “chilling effect” on society of the state emergency is that all Turks now fear that dissent will be punished by the authorities.



“Teachers, judges and lawyers dismissed or prosecuted; journalists arrested, media outlets shut down and websites blocked - clearly the successive states of emergency declared in Turkey have been used to severely and arbitrarily curtail the human rights of a very large number of people,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.



 





 



TORTURE, SEXUAL ASSALT AND “COLLECTIVE PUNISHING”



The report was based on 104 interviews.



It describes the use of torture and ill-treatment in custody, including severe beatings, sexual assault, electric shocks and waterboarding by police, gendarmerie, military police and security forces.



According to the report, at least 50 women were detained just before or after having given birth, some separated from their babies.



“There clearly are instances where people are being collectively punished”, UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.





TURKEY: REPORT IS “PROPAGANDA”



Turkey’s foreign ministry responded to the UN by saying the report “contains unfounded allegations matching up perfectly with the propaganda efforts of terrorist organizations”.


 

 


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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.