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The Extermination of Human Rights Defenders in Turkish prisons, Genava.

The Extermination of Human Rights Defenders in Turkish prisons, Genava.


The following statement was delivered, on 18 April 2, by the representative of the Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights Ms Terpsi Lambrinopoulou, in the framework of the 57th Session of the Commission on Human Rights (Agenda item 17: Promotion and protection of human right: (b) Human rights defenders).

The Extermination of Human Rights Defenders
in Turkish Prisons


Τhe Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights considers that it is its duty to bring to the attention of the Fifty seventh session of the Commission on Human Rights the continuing extermination in Turkish prisons of political detainees, the big majority of which, are human rights defenders.

The fact that over one thousand political prisoners in Turkey have engaged in a hunger strike and have undertaken a hard struggle against their transfer to the "white cells" of the new Turkish F-Type prisons - to the point where more than 130 have been seriously injured and 32 have died - is sufficient to prove that they are ready to accept death rather than the harsh and inhuman treatment to which they are subjected.

Ensuing developments are not less worrisome. The granting of amnesty only to common law criminals and not to political prisoners - contrary to international principles and practices - as well as their confinement in "white cells" in total isolation, point to the intent of extermination and torture without witnesses. We recall that the European Prison Rules (R(87)3) provide for punishment by disciplinary confinement only for a short period of time, and only if the medical officer, after examination, certifies daily in writing that the prisoner is mentally and physically fit to sustain it (Rules 37-38).

The concurrent news of attacks against leading human rights organisations in various Turkish cities provide further evidence of an organised and relentless implementation of a plan to suppress the struggle for freedom and democracy in that country.

Such practices constitute the most serious violations of the human rights of Turkish human rights defenders, in contravention of all relevant international instruments ratified by Turkey - including the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Article 3), the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

They also constitute a flagrant violation of the UN Declaration for Human Rights Defenders of 9 December 1998, which was adopted by consensus, thus, also with the consent of the Turkish government.

Recent news dispatches report that eleven more persons have died, whereas scores of detainees have been transferred to Turkish hospitals where they are expected to die.

The Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights urges the Commission and the representatives of governments, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organisations to bring a halt to the extermination of human rights defenders in Turkey, using all the means offered by international law.

The UN Declaration for Human Rights Defenders of 9 December 1998 must not become a mere piece of paper.