By HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION OF TURKEY
International law prohibits torture and violation of right to life. Prohibition is absolute and non-derogable. States are obliged to respect to this prohibition and there is not any exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked by a state to justify acts of torture, including war.
Yet, violence of police forces against to people who are enjoying their right to assembly and demonstration which has started in Istanbul and spread all around the country reached the level of brutality. This is clearly act of torture and violation of right to life.
It is a crime in accordance with the international human rights standards that political power in turkey has not stopped this brutality and not discharged those who are responsible for these violations and did not bring them to justice by starting an effective investigation.
We call international mechanisms which are authorized by the international conventions to prevent human rights violations by making the state party fulfil their obligations arising from the conventions to which they are party.
As known, peaceful and democratic demonstrations started in Gezi Park in Istanbul by citizens who are enjoying their right to participate into the city life, freedom of expression, right of assembly and demonstration. In previous week, police forces, upon the instruction of political power, started using violence to disperse peaceful protests. As a reaction to violence attacks against protestors in Gezi Park, many other protests occurred by participation of hundreds of thousand citizens all around Turkey, particularly Ankara and Izmir. Yet, since the first day, police forces, upon instruction of political power, have also used systematic violence against these protestors all around Turkey. This reached the level of torture and ill-treatment.
We are deeply concern that there are strong and just claims about brain death of a young person in Ankara because of such barbarian attacks.
During these violence attacks, thousands of people were wounded as result of intensive use of tear gas which is “weapon produced from chemical agents”, crashing by tear gas canister which was thrown by police forces as firearm by targeting people, being dragged through pressurized water, being suffered from blunt trauma because of hitting the ground, and having suffered from head trauma because of rubber bullet used by police forces and beating which climbed to level of lynch.
According to Human Rights Association, Progressive Lawyer Association, Turkish Medical Association, and relevant Bar Associations, more than one thousand people were taken under custody and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Moreover, as result of chemical tear gas attacks and physical violence attacks against mobile infirmaries established under the coordination of Turkish Medical Association and Medical Chamber, medical services were provided under very severe conditions and even interrupted. This also reveals another dimension of human rights violations.
As it is well-known, in a recent judgment by the European Court of Human Rights (Ali Güneş v. Turkey, no. 9829/07, 10 April 2012), the Court found for the first time that the use of tear gas against people whose liberty has been restricted can amount to a violation of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and found Turkey guilty of such violation in the case at hand. Yet, rather than stopping its use, people were subjected to widespread and systematic use of tear gas despite the fact that there is not any provision relating to use of tear gas in the domestic law. This means that these people were subjected to torture and ill-treatment.
The excessive use of “chemical gas” in living areas during the demonstration damaged directly human health. (If relevant health organizations carry out researches based on current records and data by respecting ethical principles, it can bring the level of damage to light)
Additionally, the systematic and excessive use of violence has directly damaged the mental health of society.
These human rights abuses while being witnessed by the world showed that the political power fearlessly has violated right to life and prohibition of torture. Act of political power is a crime in accordance with universal human rights norms and international law.
Thus, HRFT together with all relevant organizations is going to make an allegation against those who are responsible for such violations. HRFT is also going to make necessary effort to mobilize international mechanisms which are authorized by the international conventions to prevent human right violations by making the state party fulfill their obligations arising from the conventions which the Turkey is also party to. Thus, HRFT has sent letter to the following international human rights organizations and demanded them to visit Turkey and prepare special reports;
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of demonstration,
UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression,
UN Special Rapporteur on torture,
UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial execution,
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights,
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights,
European Committee for the Prevention of torture (CPT).
On the other hand, the political power, for remedy of these crimes, should immediately end brutality, discharged those who are responsible for these violations and bring them to justice by starting an effective investigation. People who were taken under custody should be released without any legal action. All resources of Ministry of Health should be used for wounded people to make them regain their health.
Most importantly, the political power should listen out the voice of society as it happens in a democratic country and officially declare that all kinds of projects for Gezi Park in Istanbul are withdrawn.
In short, we release the public that we continue our effort to end this brutality. We call people who were subjected to violence and torture by police forces to reach HRFT Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers for treatment and rehabilitation services and documentation and reporting of torture they were subjected to.