UN Human Rights: Heavy-handed response to protests in Turkey unacceptableListen /
United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has expressed concern over the heavy-handed response to demonstrations in Turkey against the proposed redevelopment of Istanbul’s Gezi Park.
Ms Pillay says the excessive force used by the police has led to the broadening of protests to include other aspects of governance, fundamental human rights, freedom of assembly and freedom of opinion and expression.
The High Commissioner said it was the government's responsibility to ensure that the police force does not resort to excessive use of force and other human rights violations while discharging their duties.
She welcomes the decision by the government to put on hold further action on the Gezi Park in Istanbul until the matter is resolved in court, and urged the authorities and civil societies to act in a manner which would defuse tensions.
Rupert Colville is the spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office.
“The High Commissioner is saying that the government must ensure that the policing of demonstrations complies at all times with international human rights obligations and international standards on policing, including the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. She is concerned about reports that significant numbers of people have been arbitrarily detained for acts other than recognized crimes, including some lawyers and people using social media such as Twitter. She also expresses particular concern about allegations of ill-treatment of some of those held, and says these allegations must be investigated as a matter of urgency and any perpetrators should be brought to justice. The government must also provide adequate reparation to victims of excessive use of force and other serious human rights violations by security forces.”
The High Commissioner notes that ensuring accountability of law enforcement bodies for their actions is essential in times of social unrest and that any excessive use of force should be punished.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.