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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

20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
News

Ensure Transparency, End Institutional Care

Serbia has taken a positive step to better protect people from Covid-19 by agreeing to release data on the total number of Covid-19 infections and deaths inside social care institutions. People inside institutions are some of the most at-risk during…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
News
In June 2020, the Turkish government proposed a new draft law amending Turkey’s Law on Lawyers. The draft greatly reduces the representation of lawyers from Turkey’s main cities at the national Union of Turkish Bar Associations and proposes that in…
Chairs of Turkey’s provincial bar associations stage a sit-in demonstration after police blocked the group from marching to Ankara to protest a new draft law. The new law is set to divide the legal profession along political lines and has been strongly opposed by bar associations. June 22, 2020. © AP Photo
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

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.…
Silivri Prison, Istanbul.
News

Lead Poisoning Victims Await Justice, Compensation

Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration at the United Nations. October 24 is United Nations Day, marking the day the UN Charter officially came into effect in 1945. The Charter includes the commitment to protect human rights. But on the…
Houses in Kosovo
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

Impunity Hampers Sustainable Peace

This week marks 20 years since the end of the Kosovo war. What began as systematic Serbian state oppression led to attacks by an ethnic Albanian armed group, a vicious government response, and 78 days of NATO airstrikes. …
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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

UN Committee Finds New Evidence of Violence in Institutions

A recent review of Serbia finds that the government is failing to protect women with disabilities in institutions from violence. In its report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) also…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
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

Roma Were Exposed to Toxic Lead in UN-Run Camps

  Yesterday, 55 Members of the European Parliament wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, expressing dismay at the UN’s failure to remedy harm inflicted on ethnic minorities in northern Kosovo following the end of the war…
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