[JURIST] A UN human rights expert declared [press release] on Friday that while Turkey has made progress in cracking down on extrajudicial killings, it still has a long way to go in remedying the problem. At the end of his official visit to Turkey, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns [academic profile] commented that Turkey has implemented several laws in the past decade that have the potential to bring human rights abusers to justice. However, Heyns also observed that Turkey’s government has not been proactive enough in prosecuting perpetrators of violence, especially those who commit violence against women:
Many people interviewed during the visit question the extent to which the political will exists to bring perpetrators to book. Likewise, while some commendable initiatives are being taken, domestic violence against women, for example in the form of so-called honour killings, is also not curbed effectively by prosecution or other measures. … This situation persists against a background where there has been little accountability for the large number of killings that took place during the 1990s. Where prosecutions take place, it is largely for offences against the State, rather than for violations of the right to life.
Heyns is scheduled to present a report on his visit to Turkey to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] next year.
Turkey has faced international criticism recently for its human rights record. Last month the UNHRC chastised Turkey [JURIST report] for prosecuting activists under the country’s vague counterterrorism law. In October the European Court of Human Rights ruled [JURIST report] in X. v. Turkey that a gay man was detained in violation of Articles 3 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In July a Turkish court ordered [JURIST report] the release of 16 individuals detained on accusations of having links to Kurdish militants. Also in July UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Francois Crepeau called on the government of Turkey and authorities in the EU to respect the rights of migrants [JURIST report]. In June the Turkish ruling party planned to abolish the special courts [JURIST report] used in coup and terrorism trials. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) plans to present a reform package including the proposed abolition of special courts to the country’s parliament before the recess.