Today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published her written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the case of Mehmet Osman Kavala v. Turkey. This case concerns the arrest and detention of a civil society activist and human rights defender in Turkey, as well as the allegation that this detention was used for purposes other than those prescribed in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Based on her contact mission to Turkey in October 2018, her continuous monitoring of the country and the work of her predecessors, the Commissioner highlights a situation of increasing pressure on civil society and human rights defenders in Turkey. She also presents her observations about the Gezi events, pointing to a number of concerns regarding the attitude of the Turkish authorities to these events and the right to peaceful assembly in general. Furthermore, she draws attention to a number of long-standing concerns about the use of criminal proceedings, and in particular of detentions, to punish statements and acts which do not incite to violence and hatred, and are protected by international human rights standards. The Commissioner concludes that such arrests and detentions form part “of a broader pattern of escalating reprisals in Turkey against civil society activists and human rights defenders for their legitimate work”.
Third party interventions represent an additional tool at the Commissioner’s disposal to help promote and protect human rights. They are foreseen by the European Convention on Human Rights and are based on the Commissioner’s country and thematic activities.