UN Watch called today the U.S., Sweden and Switzerland to remove Turkey from the UN core groups they are jointly members of, in particular the ones on human rights on the internet and peaceful protests.
“It is unthinkable that, at a time we are witnessing one of the biggest witch-hunts in history, Turkey remains part of UN core-groups on issues such as internet freedom and peaceful protests,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch.
Core groups are groupings of governments that initiative and table resolutions on a particular theme. The core group on the resolution “The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet” consists of Brazil, Nigeria, Sweden, Tunisia, U.S. and Turkey, while the one entitled “The promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests” comprises Costa Rica, Switzerland and Turkey.
At the Human Rights Council June 2016 session, Turkey played a key role in the formulation and passing of a resolution on internet freedom, which “condemns unequivocally measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law” and “calls on all States to refrain from and cease such measures.”
The suppression of internet freedoms is part of a wider, systematic attempt to stifle free speech in Turkey. These efforts came to a head in March, 2016, when the government seized Turkey’s largest newspaper, Zaman. The actions were met with strong condemnation, including from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. More recently, following the coup attempt, Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists.
Similarly, during the 31st session of the Human Rights Council, which took place in March, Turkey was a main sponsor of a resolution in support of peaceful protests. Turkish police killed 11 and injured some 8,000 people in 2013 during the Gezi Park protests.
“We call upon democratic states such as the U.S., Sweden and Switzerland to remove Turkey from the UN core groups on internet freedom and peaceful assembly. Nations that are standard bearers for human rights should not enable Turkey to whitewash its own abuses,” concluded Neuer.Source: http://www.unwatch.org/turkey-must-be-removed-from-un-core-groups-on-internet-freedom-and-peaceful-protests/