Human rights office expresses concern over use of excessive force against peaceful protestors in Turkey

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UN Human Rights Office

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern over reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement officers against protestors in Istanbul Turkey. The protestors had initially gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the redevelopment of the historic Taksim square – an important venue for political protests – and Gezi Park.

Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

says excessive force was also used against others who joined demonstrations to support them throughout Turkey.

“We welcome the acknowledgment on the part of authorities that disproportionate force may have been used and their call for an investigation of law enforcement officers who are alleged to have broken the law and violated international human rights standards. Such investigations should be prompt, thorough, independent and impartial, and perpetrators should be brought to justice.”

Ms. Pouilly says there have also been reports that a high number of people have been arrested and dozens have been injured throughout Turkey. She says all those injured must have prompt access to medical care and human rights safeguards during arrest and detention must be upheld to avoid unlawful or arbitrary detentions.

The human rights office calls on the Government of Turkey to ensure that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is fully respected and urge protestors to ensure that demonstrations remain peaceful.

And it encourages the authorities to enter into a genuine dialogue with the civil society, including neighbourhood associations, on the urban projects in the Taksim square and Gezi park.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’30″

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