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World Citizens Call on the Government of Turkey to Respect the Right of Citizens to Peaceful Demonstration

In Conflict Resolution, Current Events, Democracy, Human Rights, Middle East & North Africa on June 4, 2013 at 3:36 PM






Paris & Geneva, June 4, 2013

The Association of World Citizens (AWC) is gravely concerned at the serious human rights violations which have been committed in recent days by the security forces against peaceful demonstrators gathered at Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey, in a movement of protest which has had impact on other parts of the country.

The AWC is devoted to the values of respect, recognition and inclusion of all segments of societies. Thus, the AWC calls upon the Government of Turkey to be attentive to the concerns of those now expressing themselves and to find ways of starting good faith negotiations.

International human rights law strictly prohibits the use of tear gas against peaceful protestors and in confined spaces where it may constitute a serious danger, as well as excessive force against nonviolent demonstrations, as has been seen in both cases throughout the Turkish police’s response to the latest protests.

Even though maintaining public order is a natural function of government in a democratic society, any decision to disperse an assembly should be taken only as a last resort and in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality.

The United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the UN General Assembly in its Resolution 34/169 of December 17, 1979 clearly provides that “Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.”

The AWC thus calls upon Prime Minister Reçep Tayyip Erdogan to order a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into all reports of excessive and unnecessary use of force, ensure that any law enforcement officials responsible for arbitrary or abusive use of force are promptly prosecuted and, of course, fully guarantee the legitimate rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression of all citizens of Turkey.

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