Ten women and human rights defenders including members of Turkey Women’s Coalition, İlknur Üstün and Nalan Erkem, were detained on 5 July 2017. They were taken under custody at 9:30, but the custody decision was given hours later at 14:30. Under the Turkish State of Emergency rules, they were not allowed to contact their lawyers and/or family for 24 hours. They will be detained for 7 days with a confidentiality status on the case which means that public sharing of information about their arrest is not allowed.
WGNRR is alarmed by the arrests of women human rights defenders. The detention is an outright attack on women’s movement and all women in Turkey. Attacks on WHRDs and their organizations have devastating consequences. They instigate fear and deter WRHDs from continuing their important work in promoting and advancing women’s human rights. The arrests also violate their own rights to defend human rights; to liberty, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association; and to freedom from violence and discrimination.
As noted by the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as by other international Human Rights bodies, Governments must provide security for WHRDs as well as an enabling environment for them to do their work, as part of State responsibilities to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights. When political leaders and government officials permit attacks on WHRDs and/or are unresponsive when cases of harassment and violence are brought to light, they impede human rights and are complicit in the perpetuation or even legitimization of the harassment experienced by WHRDs.
Therefore, we call on the Turkish Government to take necessary measures for the immediate release of the WHRDs and to take action to protect the human rights of all activists and WHRDs in the country.
Download the urgent calls for solidarity for Turkish WHRDs here: