In a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Justice of Turkey, published today, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to fulfil the commitments enshrined in the national Action Plan on Human Rights, stop the stigmatisation of LGBTI people, and uphold their freedoms of assembly, association and expression.
The Commissioner is concerned that the LGBTI communities have been prevented from exercising their right to peaceful assembly due to sweeping restrictions on LGBTI events, including Pride marches, that the authorities at different levels have enforced over the years. “I call on the Turkish authorities to uphold the right of LGBTI people to peaceful assembly by lifting the bans on LGBTI events and take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of participants during such events, including Pride marches”, stressed the Commissioner.
The Commissioner further warns that a series of restrictions on activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and freedom of association imposed by the government in recent years in the name of counter-terrorism have also negatively impacted on the work of LGBTI organisations. She notes that the use of judicial proceedings to silence human rights defenders, NGOs and lawyers and curtail civil society activism, which she has repeatedly raised in her work on Turkey, continues and that it has increasingly affected those who have stood up for the rights of LGBTI people.
Finally, the Commissioner is concerned about the visible rise in hateful rhetoric and the propagation of homophobic narratives by some politicians and opinion-makers in Turkey and about impunity for transphobic hate crimes. “I call on the authorities to reverse these negative trends and ensure effective protection of the human rights of LGBTI people in Turkey”, stressed the Commissioner.