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Mark Istanbul Convention’s 10th Anniversary with Action

(Berlin) – Council of Europe member states should reinforce efforts to combat violence against women by swiftly ratifying and carrying out a landmark regional convention on women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch released…
People gathered in Istanbul in March 2021 to protest Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, a treaty designed to safeguard women from gender-based violence. 
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Eighteen years ago, in February 2003, Human Rights Watch interviewed Angela P, who was 10 years old when the brutal armed group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) kidnapped her in northern Uganda. At age 15,  she was forced to become a “wife” to an LRA…
Dominic Ongwen at his confirmation of charges hearing in ICC courtroom I on 21 January 2016 © ICC-CPI.
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End Violations of Media Freedom; Annul Abusive Measures; Ensure Impartiality

(Istanbul) – Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), is imposing punitive and disproportionate sanctions against independent television and radio channels that broadcast commentary and news coverage critical of…
The Monitoring Center of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) where the broadcasts of more than 1780 radio and television stations are regulated.  November 9, 2020 
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As domestic violence rates soar in Europe under COVID-19 restrictions, women’s groups protest government inaction from Poland to Turkey.

As violence against women repeatedly grabs headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, women across Europe are at the forefront of mass protests demanding government action to protect women from abuse. Some argue that women shouldn’t risk their lives…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
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(Berlin) – The following statement was issued by 11 organizations, including Human Rights Watch, following their  visit to Turkey on October 6-9, 2020 to meet with journalists, officials, and others to assess the conditions for media freedom in…
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It was disappointing to read a recent article by a  senior police officer, Emilian Kayima, in The New Vision blaming women for being victims of sexual violence. Instead of taking on the men responsible for the violence and abuse, Kayima,  a former police…
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News

Authorities Also Repressing Political Opposition Events

  Uganda is once again targeting media outlets it believes to be critical of the government. Last week, Uganda’s media regulatory body, the Ugandan Communications Commission (UCC), accused 13 radio and…
Media and members of Uganda's Human Rights Network for Journalists struggle with police as they protest outside the Daily Monitor newspaper head office
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On Press Freedom Day, Authorities Should Commit to Supporting Free Expression

This week, the director of Uganda’s media regulatory authority, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), directed thirteen radio and television stations, including a Kampala-based television station to suspend their staff after they …
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Prosecutor Widens Unjustified Probe of Osman Kavala

Update: Of the 13 people detained on November 16, 12 were released but are banned from overseas travel. An Istanbul court ruled that Yiğit Aksakoğlu, who has worked for many years in the field of human rights, including at…
Istanbul police detained 13 academics and individuals working for nongovernmental group Anadolu Kültür, November 16, 2018.
News

Students on Trial Despite Right to Free Speech

(Berlin) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has chosen to drop a complaint against four Ankara students he accused of “insulting the president” for holding up a satirical banner, Human Rights Watch said today. The students’ trial is due to…
The graduation ceremony at Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara, July 6. 2018. The banner carried by students accused of insulting Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is among the hundreds laid out at the ceremony.
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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
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Use September 7 Meeting to Address Arbitrary Detentions, Disappearances, Abductions

(Beirut) – The Astana working group on detentions and abductions in the Syrian conflict should take immediate steps to address the Syrian government’s arbitrary detentions, torture of detainees, and enforced disappearances, 11 human…
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lock hands during a group photo in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. © 2018 Tolga Bozoglu/Pool Photo via AP
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Draft Law Permits Purging Judges; Prolonged Detention; Curbing Movement, Assembly

(Istanbul)—A draft law being rushed through Turkey’s parliament will preserve many of the abusive powers granted to the president and executive under the country’s recent state of emergency, which formally ended on July 18, 2018, Human Rights Watch…
The human rights monument in Ankara cordoned off with a police barricade during Turkey’s state of emergency to prevent its use as a site of public assembly and protest, 2017.
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Jailed Amnesty Turkey Chair, 10 Other Activists Face Unfounded Charges

(Istanbul) – Sham criminal proceedings against Amnesty International Turkey’s honorary chair Taner Kılıç and 10 other human rights defenders are set to resume on June 21, 2018, Human Rights Watch said. The rights…
Taner Kilic, head of Amnesty International Turkey, speaks at a conference.
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Harsh Sentences for Cumhuriyet Staff in Politically Motivated Case

(Berlin) – The 14 journalists, staff, and board members of the Turkish- daily newspaper Cumhuriyet sentenced to prison on April 25, are being punished for doing their jobs, Human Rights Watch said today. “The convictions of Cumhuriyet…
Press freedom activists read opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet during a demonstration in solidarity with the jailed members of the newspaper outside a courthouse, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 28, 2017.
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Detention, Prosecutions Over Criticisms of Turkish Army Actions in Syria

(Berlin) – Turkish authorities have detained and prosecuted large numbers of people in recent weeks over social media posts criticizing Turkey’s military operation in the northwest Syrian district of Afrin, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Nurcan Baysal, journalist; Ali Erol, LGBT activist; Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, medical doctor;  Kutay  Meriç, executive member of rights group "Halkevleri" (from upper left corner clockwise)
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Sentences for Journalists, Writers Emblematic of Media Crackdown

(Berlin) — Three Turkish journalists were convicted on February 16, 2018 on bogus charges related to the failed coup of 2016 and sentenced to life in prison, Human Rights Watch said today. They are the first journalists convicted of involvement in…
Writers and journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, and Nazli Ilicak
News

State of Emergency Prolonged as Presidential Powers Increase

(Istanbul) – Turkey increased restrictions on the media, political opposition, and human rights defenders during 2017, on the back of a very narrow referendum, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2018. Turkey also introduced a…
A demonstration outside a courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey in solidarity with the staff of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet on trial over alleged support to terrorist groups, July 24, 2017.
News
Turkey’s intensified crackdown on human rights and the rule of law has targeted business interests in the country too, and should ring alarm bells for European companies and investors. Business associations representing them should convey their concerns…
Human rights defenders detained by police in Istanbul on July 5, 2017. From bottom left: Nalan Erkem; Nejat Taştan; İlknur Üstün, İdil Eser, Özlem Dalkıran, Günal Kurşun.