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Nurcan Baysal

Nurcan Baysal

HRD & Journalist
Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

Nurcan Baysal is a Kurdish human rights defender and journalist based in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. In 2015 and 2016, she visited villages and documented human rights violations committed in the context of the military operations conducted in the region. As a journalist and columnist for various news outlets and periodicals, she particularly writes about the Kurdish issue and covers development and poverty issues. Besides her work as a journalist, she also co-founded several civil society organisations and involved in many civil society studies regarding forced migration, poverty, development and gender issues in the context of the Kurdish issue. Nurcan is also the advisor of various non-profit foundations, including the Global Fund for Women, the Women Labor and Employment Platform and the Urgent Action Fund, among others. She involved in the establishment of a camp to support Yazidi women fleeing the Islamic State in the recent years. She has been a key voice in many reconciliation programs in the region. She is also the Global Laureate of the 2018 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.


Nurcan Baysal in Diyarbakir

Human rights defenders (HRDs) in Turkey have been subjected to judicial harassment, including criminal prosecution, violent attacks, threats, surveillance, prolonged arbitrary detention, and ill-treatment. In the aftermath of an attempted coup in July 2016, the environment for the work of HRDs deteriorated even further.

Through the wide-ranging use of State of Emergency laws, the Turkish government has significantly infringed on the rights to freedom of expression, media, assembly, and association, and has particularly restricted the liberty of those engaged in human rights work. These laws enable even further human rights violations, as HRDs often do not have the freedom to monitor the activities of the security forces, who have been granted extensive powers.