Front Line Defenders
Empower A Thousand
HRD Spotlight: Crackdown in Turkey
Since the recommencement of conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish groups following the breakdown of peace negotiations in July 2015, pressure on media outlets in Turkey - especially those reporting on the conflict itself - has increased significantly. Journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers and academics who report on the issues or question government assertions about the conflict, security operations taking place in the country, or treatment of the minority Kurdish population are at risk. HRDs are arrested, interrogated, and detained for publicly defending minority rights, and the government uses anti-terror legislation to silence critics and pressure civil society.
This week, the crackdown was stepped up when, on 20 June 2016, human rights defenders Dr Sebnem Korur Fincanci, Mr Ahmet Nesin and Mr Erol Önderoğlu were placed in detention by decision of the 1st High Court of Peace in Istanbul, pending an investigation into their alleged involvement in the propaganda of terrorism. Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin are being held in Metris prison and Sebnem Korur Fincanci in Bakirkoy prison, Istanbul.
Sebnem Korur Fincanci is a human rights defender and the President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey since 2009. The Foundation is involved in the documentation of cases of torture, rehabilitation of vicitms and the provision of legal assistance to them. Sebnem is also one of the founding members of the Forensic Doctors’ Association and has played a major role in the development of the United Nations reference standards on the investigation and documentation of cases of torture, the Istanbul Protocol. In 2014 Sebnem was presented the International Hrant Dink Award for her human rights work. Erol Önderoğlu is a correspondent for Reporters Without Borders in Turkey and the Editor of Bianet, a Turkish website that covers political, social and cultural affairs with special attention paid to fundamental rights and freedoms. Bianet publishes a press freedom report every quarter. Ahmet Nesin is a journalist, blogger and human rights defender advocating for the freedom of press.
In nearly a decade of defending her community’s land and rivers from corporate destruction, Honduran woman Ms. Ana Mirian Romero has endured armed raids, physical assault, death threats, and personal defamation campaigns. On 10 June 2016, former President of Ireland, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, Mrs. Mary Robinson, presented Ana Mirian with the 2016 Front Line Defenders Award.