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International Observatory of Human Rights in collaboration with Turkey Tribunal publish new report on the state of Abductions in Turkey Today

18 September 2020
  • Turkey Tribunal has published its second report: Abductions in Turkey Today part of a series of reports on the state of human rights in Turkey
  • The report on abductions provides clear evidence and testimonies that abductions and enforced disappearances have become systematic tools used by the Turkish State to clamp down on their opponents
  • The International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) will be producing exclusive interviews with victims along with witness statements to supplement the report

A second report titled Abductions in Turkey Today has been published by the Turkey Tribunal in collaboration with International Observatory of Human Rights providing clear evidence that the use of abductions and enforced disappearances has increased in Turkey following the 2016 coup attempt against the current Turkish government.

The report mainly seeks to answer three key questions:

  1. Is Turkey responsible for the internal abduction of its opponents?
  2. Is Turkey responsible for the extraterritorial abduction of its opponents?
  3. Does Turkey effectively investigate complaints and allegations of enforced disappearances and unlawful abduction?

The report stated that a UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances had expressed concerns in the past following a visit to Turkey in 2016, that the number of cases of enforced disappearances (and thus abductions) has been steeply increasing since 2016. While from 2002 until 2015, only 1 case was transmitted, since 2016 this already happened 14 times.

The report written by, Mr Johan Heymans Partner at Van Steenbrugge Advocates is partly based on a report published by the ‘Ankara Bar Association Human Rights Centre’ with regards to their work on internal abductions which details comprehensive investigations and factual findings of the Ankara Bar Association, as published in their joint monitoring report of 27 June 2019.

The report also presents 25 abduction cases that are supported by camera footage, witness statements, investigations of NGOs and other matching sources.

Prof. Johan Vande Lanotte said: “It is particularly worrying to note that Turkey is once again linking up with its dark history of abductions. In addition to a sharp increase in domestic kidnappings organized by the Turkish authorities, Turkey is also strongly committed to abduct political opponents abroad. Such abductions blatantly violate the most basic principles of international law.”

The Turkey Tribunal was set up in early 2020 to establish a framework to review the current situation and the promises made by the Turkish government to improve their dire human rights record. Although not a legally binding body, the calibre of judges, witnesses and experts will give the tribunal authority through transparency to raise awareness among the international community and establish the benchmark for change.

The Turkey Tribunal will present six reports which will be brought before a physical tribunal when it convenes in late autumn in Geneva.

Turkey Tribunal Full Reports:

IOHR will also be organizing a series of webinars to supplement the Tribunal and allow the victims, authors and participants to engage with audiences around the world.

Valerie Peay, Director of the International Observatory of Human Rights has said:

“This latest report clearly proves that the situation is getting worse and Turkey is simply not abiding by its human rights obligations. By collaborating with the Turkey Tribunal, we continue our commitment to expose these violations through our many platforms including IOHRTV the first human rights TV channel.”

The International Observatory of Human Rights has been a strong advocate for human rights reform in Turkey, In January of this year, IOHR partnered with The Press Emblem Campaign to host a discussion that coincided with the UN’s Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Turkey, a panel that included journalists, civil society, academic experts, NGOs and those with government experience where invited to the Palais des Nations to discuss the unprecedented threat to human rights in Turkey

Turkey Tribunal Full Reports:
Turkey Tribunal report on Abductions in Turkey Today
Turkey Tribunal’s report on Torture in Turkey Today

For media enquiries please contact:

Ash Naji – [email protected]

Head of Communications, IOHR

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