GENEVA, July 18, 2016 — A Geneva-based human rights group today called on the UN’s top human rights official and the world body’s experts on arbitrary detention and independence of judges to speak out against Turkish President Erdogan’s “unprecedented” purge of thousands of judges and other officials.
“Never before in modern history has a democracy ordered the arbitrary removal of thousands of judges, only to be met with complete radio silence from the entire UN human rights system, from High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, to the 47-nation Human Rights Council, and its experts tasked with speaking out in precisely such situations: the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges, Monica Pinto, and the 5-person working group on arbitrary detention,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization.
“The Turkish government’s massive purge and ongoing round-up of thousands of judges, prosecutors, police officials, military officers and soldiers, gives every indication that these lists were prepared in advance, just waiting to be used at the opportune moment,” said Neuer.
“There is no modern precedent for a democracy—let alone one that sought EU membership—to trample the rule of law on this scale with the removal of thousands of judges, and by carrying out thousands of arbitrary detentions.”
“We need the United Nations human rights system to speak out immediately, and we call on all officials—and the 47-nation human rights council—to live up to their mandates and defend basic human rights and the rule of law in Turkey.”
Above: “Democracy’s Victory” was the headline yesterday in Turkish newspapers Hurriyet and Milliyet, even as President Erdogan arbitrarily ordered the removal of an astounding 2,745 judges and is conducting mass purges of police and other officials.