Human rights violations at Gezi Park must not be repeated
(Brussels, 2 October 2013) Human rights violations occurred on a massive scale during the Turkish government’s crushing of the Gezi Park protests this summer, says a report released today by Amnesty International.
The report, Gezi Park protests: Brutal denial of the right to peaceful assembly in Turkey, details the worst excesses of police violence during the protests, the failure to bring these abuses to justice and the subsequent prosecution and harassment of those who took part. Live ammunition, tear gas, water cannon, plastic bullets and beatings of protestors left more than 8,000 people injured at the scene of demonstrations. The deaths of at least three protestors have been linked to the abusive use of force by police.
“The attempt to smash the Gezi Park protests involved a string of human rights violations including the wholesale denial of the right to peaceful assembly, free from torture and ill-treatment,” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
A “democratisation package” announced by the Turkish Prime Minister on Monday failed to address these violations or to take any serious steps to ensure that they will not occur in the future.
“These events are a stark reminder of the human rights violations at the EU’s borders. The EU has a unique opportunity to engage with Turkey in the context of accession negotiations to ensure that the violence directed toward peaceful protestors does not happen again.”
The vast majority of police abuses already look likely to go unpunished, while many of those who organised and participated in the protests have been vilified and now face prosecution on unfair or inflated charges. Those who assisted protestors or reported on the protests – such as doctors, lawyers, journalists and even businesses – have faced threats and harassment.
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