Tuesday 24 April 2018

Amnesty report on human rights highlights 'shocking examples' in Turkey

Protesters holding placards and waving flags demonstrate in Turkey (AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Protesters holding placards and waving flags demonstrate in Turkey (AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Turkey was among the countries with the worst practices for human rights in 2016, according to Amnesty International.

In its annual report released on Wednesday, the international human rights group said freedom of expression had deteriorated sharply during the year.

It noted that 118 journalists were arrested and 184 news outlets were closed after the government declared a state of emergency following a failed coup attempt.

The group also reported an increase in cases of torture and ill-treatment under police detention, in areas placed under curfew while security forces battled Kurdish militants, and in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt.

Presenting the group's findings on Turkey, researcher Andrew Gardner told reporters in Istanbul: "In terms of the trends... we looked to Turkey unfortunately, to see the most shocking examples."

Releasing its 408-page annual report on rights abuses around the world, the watchdog group described 2016 as "the year when the cynical use of 'us vs them' narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s", when Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany.

Amnesty International said "toxic" fear-mongering by anti-establishment politicians, among them US President Donald Trump and the leaders of Turkey, Hungary and the Philippines, was contributing to a global pushback against human rights.

Amnesty named Mr Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte among leaders it said are "wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanises entire groups of people".

"Poisonous" rhetoric employed by Mr Trump in his election campaign exemplified "the global trend of angrier and more divisive politics", Amnesty said.

"The limits of what is acceptable have shifted. Politicians are shamelessly and actively legitimising all sorts of hateful rhetoric and policies based on people's identity: misogyny, racism and homophobia. The first target has been refugees and, if this continues in 2017, others will be in the crosshairs."

In the Philippines, Mr Duterte's spokesman said the president has recently toned down his rhetoric. Mr Duterte has previously said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts and talked of fattening fish in Manila Bay with corpses.

Amnesty's annual report documented what it called "grave violations of human rights" in 159 countries in 2016.

It said governments "turned a blind eye to war crimes, pushed through deals that undermine the right to claim asylum, passed laws that violate free expression, incited murder of people simply because they are accused of using drugs, justified torture and mass surveillance, and extended draconian police powers".

The report added that "the big question in 2017 will be how far the world lets atrocities go before doing something about them".


Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News