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Turkey: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of Chris Law Chris Law Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the veracity of the evidence for the charges against the Büyükada group of activists in Turkey; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State, Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The British Government remains concerned by the ongoing trial of the Büyükada group of human rights defenders (HRDs) in Turkey. We have been closely following the case since it first came to court in 2017. We note the next hearing is on 19 February. As a modern democracy we expect Turkey to undertake any legal processes fairly, transparently and with full respect for the rule of law and we consistently reiterate this message to our Turkish counterparts at all levels.

We have long encouraged Turkey to work towards the full protection of fundamental rights, particularly in the area of freedom of expression. On 28 January at the 35th Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights, one of the recommendations that the United Kingdom put forward for Turkey is protecting freedom of expression, including for journalists and human rights defenders, by decriminalising defamation. We will continue to engage the Turkish Government on these issues and be clear in our expectation that Turkey live up to its human rights obligations, which is essential to the long-term health of Turkish democracy.

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