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Fresh Action Needed Six Years After Gui Minhai’s Kidnapping

This week marks the sixth anniversary since Chinese authorities abducted Gui Minhai, a Swedish book publisher, from his home in Thailand in 2015. After enduring a forced confession on state media and a sham trial, Gui was briefly freed in 2017, before…
Protesters stick photos of Gui Minhai, left, and other missing booksellers outside the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong on January 3, 2016.
News

Respect for Rights Should be Prerequisite for Closer Ties, More Trade

European Union officials have a chance to send a clear message when they meet for an EU summit this week: the deplorable human rights situation in Turkey should have consequences for the country’s relationship with the EU. During a visit to Turkey’…
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, March 9, 2020.
News

Government, University Authorities Should Allow Peaceful Dissent

A Turkish court today ordered the release of two student protesters detained since February 4. Şilan Delipalta and Anıl Akyüz were arrested for joining an unauthorized protest against President Erdogan’s controversial appointment of an unelected…
Police forcefully detain a protester  who is crying on the ground while the police stand over her at a demonstration.
News

Council Meeting Offered Little Hope to Turkey’s Human Rights Defenders

The bolder Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gets, the quieter the European Union (EU). The conclusion of last week’s EU summit showed, as last year under the German Presidency, that when it comes to Turkey, geopolitics and migration have…
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seen walking near the Turkish and European Union flags.
News

Follows Netherlands Government’s Decision to Halt Adoptions

A recent inquiry in the Netherlands into intercountry adoptions uncovered such damning abuses that the government froze all overseas adoptions. Following the Dutch investigation, the Swedish Family Law and Parental Support Authority, the agency…
Vy över Sveriges parlament (riksdag) i Stockholm den 9 april 2006.
News

Encouraging Signs They Are Set to Take More Leading Role

The Nordic countries proudly express steadfast commitment to human rights as a priority in foreign policy, but have been disappointingly inconsistent in practice. Sweden launched a feminist foreign policy in 2014 – a laudable approach that failed…
An Icelandic flag hangs outside a shop in Reykjavik, October 27, 2016.
News

New Draft Law Would Force Social Media Companies to Submit to Censorship

  Update: On April 14, Human Rights Watch learned from members of Turkey’s parliament that the government has withdrawn draft amendments to control social media companies for the present Not content with simply…
People check their phones at a market in central Istanbul, Turkey, July 18, 2019.
News

European governments should do more to stop COVID-19 related racist abuse

Recently when I was heading home from work, a man on the bus pushed me up against the bus window and asked if I was from China. Physically trapped and scared, I told him that I’m Swedish-Korean. Thankfully, that’s when another passenger on the bus…
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News

Early Release Program Should Seek to Lower Threat of Coronavirus for All Prisoners

The risk the coronavirus pandemic poses to staff and inmates in Turkey’s vastly overcrowded prisons has prompted the government to accelerate a plan to substitute prison time with alternatives such as early parole and house arrest. While a welcome…
Silivri Prison, Istanbul.
News

Plan Increases Risks for Returned Refugees

Turkey’s plan to create a 32-kilometer “safe zone” in Syria where it could relocate one million Syrian refugees is woefully misguided and dangerous – and bound to fail. Turkey’s military operations in northeast Syria could displace civilians…
A Turkish soldier stands at the border with Syria in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
News

UN Secretary-General has Authority to Identify Perpetrators

“It was premeditated,” concluded Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, describing the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She added that the Washington Post reporter’s assassination on…
Candles lit by activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are placed outside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul. © 2018 Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo
News

Re-run of Istanbul’s Mayoral Election Threatens Voters’ Right to Choose

The dubious decision to cancel the March 31 Istanbul mayoral election win by opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu, in the absence of compelling evidence that the vote was not free or fair, has interfered with the democratic right of millions of voters.…
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News

Ban Created a Climate of Fear and Stigmatized LGBTI Community

An Ankara court has finally ended a ban on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) events in Turkey’s capital. The court ruled that the ban, in force since November 2017, was unlawful and restricted rights…
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News

Ankara Should Lead Efforts for Xinjiang UN Fact-Finding Mission

The Chinese government’s mass internment of an estimated one million Turkic Muslims in its Xinjiang region has faced growing concern from an increasing number of countries around the world. But this week, Turkey became a leading voice…
Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a political education camp in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang.
News

Bold Move Contrasts with Secretary-General’s Inaction

The decision by the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, to investigate the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi shows courage and initiative. It is likely to anger Saudi Arabia and the…
Candles lit by activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are placed outside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul. © 2018 Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo
News

Long Past Time to Put an End to Brutal Treatment of Migrants, Asylum Seekers

Ten years ago, I documented a systematic pattern of brutal Greek border police pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers at the Evros River border that divides Greece and Turkey. Last week, as I edited a new Human Rights Watch report, I…
Migrants that crossed the land border between Greece and Turkey are seen at the Pre-Removal Detention Center in the village of Fylakio, Northern Greece, February 24, 2017.
News

Free Journalists, Rights Defenders, Politicians Jailed in Turkey

Given the present state of human rights in Turkey, the German government has come in for criticism over the elaborate plans for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey’s upcoming visit on September 28 and 29, including a state banquet…
From left to right: Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak
News

Authorities Should Free Jailed Workers, Investigate Claims Of Unsafe Practices

On recent Turkish Airlines flights, after passengers watch the usual safety video they are also shown a short film lauding the virtues of Istanbul’s gigantic new third airport, expected to open in October. But, according to accounts by…
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News

Protect, End Discrimination Against LGBTI Community

Istanbul’s sixteenth Pride March is set to take place on July 1. But even as the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community (LGBTI) and supporters prepare to celebrate next week, it is unclear whether they will be free to do…
LGBT rights activists hold a rainbow flag during a transgender pride parade which was banned by the governor’s office, in central Istanbul, Turkey, June 19, 2016
News

Should Honor Campaign Pledge to Lift State of Emergency, Strengthen Rule of Law

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has secured another election win, and this term will have even greater presidential powers than before. His June 24 win brings fully into force constitutional changes that introduce a presidential…
Election posters in Kadıköy, Istanbul, June 2018.