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Turkish (Turkiye)

“Rulings anywhere that women must wear the burqa should be condemned - but banning such dresses here would be wrong” says Commissioner Hammarberg

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Strasbourg, 08.03.2010 - “Women should be free to choose how to dress, without interferences neither from their communities nor from state authorities” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.

Prohibition of the burqa and the niqab would not liberate oppressed women, but might instead lead to their further alienation in European societies” he said.

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Violence directed at Iraqi minorities marred poll

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Iraq's ethnic and religious communities are awaiting the results of the country's most important election since the US-led invasion and one that was also marred by violence and targeted attacks against minorities.

As polling closed on Sunday, Qussay Abbas, a Shabak member of the Provincial Council was gunned down by insurgents in Mosul, Iraqi Minorities Organisation (IMO) said in a statement.

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Turkey: Stop Violence Against Transgender People

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Multiple Murders Highlight Inadequate State Protection

(Ankara) - The recent murders of two transgender women in Turkey highlight  an ongoing pattern of violence and the urgent need for stronger protection measures by the government, four Turkish and international human rights organizations said today in a letter to Turkish authorities.

The groups called on Turkey to remedy the conditions that place transgender people at risk from acts of violence by enacting anti-discrimination protections, instituting programs to combat prejudice and hatred, and repealing laws that provide an opportunity for police to harass stigmatized groups.

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European migration policies discriminate against Roma people

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Strasbourg, 22.02.2010 – “European governments are not giving Roma migrants the same treatment as others who are in similar need of protection. Roma migrants are returned by force to places where they are at risk of human rights violations” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint.

The Commissioner stresses that the EU Directives impact differently on Roma than on other EU citizens. “The protective provisions of the ‘Free Movement Directive’ are breached much more easily in respect of Roma than any other identifiable group. Expulsions of Roma have been carried out in contravention of EU law. In other cases destruction of Roma dwellings has been used as a method to persuade Roma to leave ‘voluntarily’”.

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UN world report alerts to the condition of indigenous peoples

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The first UN world report on indigenous peoples uncovers alarming statistics on poverty, health, education, employment, the environment and human rights among other issues.

The publication entitled “State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples” is a joint effort by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. It was launched on 14 January in New York by the Forum’s Chairperson, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

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Language rights of national minorities must be respected – their denial undermines human rights and causes inter-communal tensions

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Language rights have become an issue of contention within several European countries, and as a consequence also between neighbouring states. While some governments take steps to strengthen the standing of the official language, national minorities are concerned that their linguistic rights are being undermined.

The spelling of personal names on passports, the displaying of street names and other topographical indications, the language used in schools, the language requirements when communicating with the authorities and the possibility to establish minority media – such issues are again being raised by minority representatives in several European countries. 

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Counter-terrorism: intrusive measures in fight against terrorism should be opposed, says UN expert

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GENEVA (19 January 2010) - “The current wave of privacy-intrusive measures in the name of countering terrorism should be countered through a global declaration on data protection and data privacy,” the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Martin Scheinin said Tuesday, as he released his latest report which focuses on the erosion of the right to privacy in the fight against terrorism.*

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The ‘smoke’ which killed Hrant Dink

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

You may not have watched it, but I am sure you are familiar with the popular television series “Lost.” “Lost” is the story of the survivors of a plane crash and the mysteries of the island on which they landed.

The island is not an ordinary one; it is like a living organism. There are many aspects of this island that deserve to be mentioned, but for our story, the “smoke” is the most important one. There is black smoke that is called the “monster”; it takes the lives of the islanders who are not wanted by “the island” anymore. This “smoke” is not a person; it is the dark side of the soul of the island.

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Roma women urge European governments to respect their human rights

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Athens, 12.01.2010 – The increased and alarming human rights violations against Romani women and ways of ensuring full enjoyment of their rights topped the agenda of a two-day conference of Roma women, which ended today in Athens.

In a final declaration of the conference, the participants unanimously called on European governments to uphold their obligations and ensure that Romani women enjoy their fundamental rights, to put an end to a climate of impunity around atrocious abuses of their rights, to take unequivocal measures to punish perpetrators and compensate Romani women victims.

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Turkey: Rights Defender Arrested

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(New York) - The arrest of a human rights advocate on suspicion of links to the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) raises serious concerns that he was targeted because of his legitimate work on human and minority rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrest on December 24, 2009 of Muharrem Erbey, president of the national Human Rights Association and chairman of its Diyarbakir branch, was part of a broader operation by the anti-terror police, in which 36 people were detained.

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Socialists, liberals and me

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

I was a law student in 1985. Before this time, I had always defined myself as a leftist. As a university student, I had the opportunity to put my ideas into practice. I engaged in the establishment of the first student association in Turkey during that year.

After the 1980 military coup, the military junta banned every kind of organization, association, political party, anything you can imagine. So our attempt was quite a serious thing. We all were under police surveillance, and the situation was quite tense during those years.

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