Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Turkey

en

CCPR/C/TUR/CO/1
1 November 2012

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10. The Committee is concerned about the discrimination and alleged acts of violence against people on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation, and about the social stigmatization and social exclusion of LGBT persons in terms of their access to health services, education, or to their treatment in the context of the regulations concerning compulsory military service and while serving in the military. (arts. 2 and 26)

While acknowledging the diversity of morality and cultures internationally, the Committee recalls that all cultures are always subject to the principles of universality of human rights and non-discrimination (General Comment No. 34, para. 32). The State party should therefore state clearly and officially that it does not tolerate any form of social stigmatization of homosexuality, bisexuality or transexuality, or harassment of or discrimination or violence against persons because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It should ensure the investigation, prosecution and punishment of any act of discrimination or violence motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

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23. The Committee is concerned that conscientious objection to military service has not been recognized by the State party. The Committee regrets that conscientious objectors or persons supporting conscientious objection are still at risk of being sentenced to imprisonment and that, as they maintain their refusal to undertake military service, they are practically deprived of some of their civil and political rights such as freedom of movement and right to vote.. (arts. 12, 18 and 25)

The State party should adopt legislation recognizing and regulating conscientious objection to military service, so as to provide the option of alternative service, without the choice of that option entailing punitive or discriminatory effects and, in the meantime, suspend all proceedings against conscientious objectors and suspend all sentences already imposed.

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24. The Committee is concerned that human rights defenders and media professionals continue to be subjected to convictions for the exercise of their profession, in particular through the criminalization of defamation in article 125, and through the excessive application of articles 214, 215, 216 and 220 (protection of public order), or articles 226 (publication or broadcasting of obscene materials), 285 (confidentiality of investigations), 228 (judiciary), 314 (membership of an armed organization), 318 (prohibiting criticism of the military) of the Criminal Code, thereby discouraging the expression of critical positions or critical media reporting on matters of valid public interest, adversely affecting freedom of expression in the State party. In addition, while welcoming the information provided by the State party on the partial amnesty concerning some offences allegedly committed by journalists before November 2011, the Committee is concerned about the inconsistent application of the transitional legal provisions and by the continued prosecution of other journalists not covered by the political amnesty. (arts. 9, 14 and 19)

The State party should ensure that human rights defenders and journalists can pursue their profession without fear of being subjected to prosecution and libel suits, having in mind the Committee’s General Comment No. 34. In doing so, the State party should:

(a) Consider decriminalising defamation and, in any case, it should countenance the application of the criminal law in the most serious of cases taking into account that imprisonment is never an appropriate penalty.
(b) Provide redress to journalists and human rights activists who are subjected to criminal prosecution and imprisonment in contravention of articles 9 and 19 of the Covenant;
(c) Bring relevant provisions of the Criminal Code into line with article 19 of the Covenant and apply any restrictions within the strict terms of this provision.

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26. In accordance with rule 71, paragraph 5, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the State party should provide, within one year, relevant information on its implementation of the Committee’s recommendations made in paragraphs 10, 13 and 23 above.

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Source: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/co/CCPR-C-TUR-CO-1.doc

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