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Turkey: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 12th February 2020.

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Photo of Fabian Hamilton Fabian Hamilton Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on the (a) prosecution of (i) Amnesty International Turkey's Tan Kilic and Idil Eser and (ii) other human rights defenders in that country and (b) legitimacy of human rights defenders and their work.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State

We remain concerned by the Amnesty arrests in the summer of 2017, as well as that of the civil society activist Osman Kavala in October the same year, and have been following both cases closely. We have raised their cases at ministerial level with the Turkish Government on several occasions, most recently in January this year. We hope that the outstanding charges against them can be brought to a timely and equitable conclusion. We will be monitoring the next hearing on 19 February.

We have long encouraged Turkey to work towards the full protection of fundamental rights, including those of human rights defenders, and in support of freedom of expression. The United Kingdom recognises that human rights defenders play an essential role in promoting and protecting democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Our commitment to human rights defenders was publicly emphasised by the publication in July 2019 of the document 'UK Support for Human Rights Defenders'. We will continue to engage the Turkish Government on these important issues.

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