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UN rights chief calls for end to Turkish state of emergency

[JURIST] The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called [press release] for Turkey to lift its state of emergency restrictions Wednesday in order to hold credible elections it has planned next month.

Turkey renewed its state of emergency for the seventh time on April 19 since it first did in June 2016, suspending several articles of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including ones that include freedoms of expression, assembly, association and the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs.

High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein noted this tension between pulling these obligations and holding a credible election.

Zeid said:

Over the past two years, through successive states of emergency, the space for dissent in Turkey has shrunk considerably, with at least 29 more journalists jailed on terrorism offenses in just the last week of April alone …It is difficult to imagine how credible elections can be held in an environment where dissenting views and challenges to the ruling party are penalized so severely.

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