Zeid: Turkey should respect individual rights following mass arrests

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein addresses the 31st regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Those responsible for violence in Turkey during the attempted coup should be held accountable, but the country should ensure that everyone detained in its aftermath is treated lawfully.

That's the view of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A coup staged on Friday night in the Turkish capital, Ankara, and it's largest city, Istanbul, failed to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Here's Daniel Johnson, in Geneva.

The comments on Tuesday by UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, follow mass arrests by the government.

These include a large number of judges and prosecutors, though the UN Human Rights Office said it could not confirm how many.

Here's spokesperson for the High Commissioner, Ravina Shamdasani:

"There is a very high threshold for the removal or the suspension of judges, according to international human rights law. Judges obviously serve a very important purpose and particularly in the aftermath of an attempted coup…Each judge's case needs to be independently and individually assessed before they are suspended and removed from their posts. And we are concerned that the mass suspension does not allow for such individual assessment."

On the issue of calls for the death penalty to be reinstated in Turkey, High Commissioner Zeid said that it would be contrary to the country's 2006 ratification of an international covenant that calls for its abolition, and "a big step in the wrong direction".

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'00"

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