Turkish authorities urged to tackle anti-LGBT violence and discrimination – UN rights office

14 July 2015

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed deep concern over attacks and incitement to violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Turkey and has called on the authorities to take active measures to combat homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, a UN spokesperson said today.

“In the past two weeks alone, reported incidents include the appearance of posters in Ankara encouraging the murder of LGBT people; a violent homophobic attack against a group of young gay men in Istanbul; as well as rape, assault and robbery against Kemal Ördek, a human rights defender and founder of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.

He went on to say that the Office is “further concerned about allegations that in the last case, police officers trivialized the attack, used discriminatory language, tried to dissuade the victim from filing a complaint, and did not provide protection from additional threats by the alleged perpetrators.”

In addition, Mr. Colville said, these incidents follow reports that the police used unwarranted force against individuals who were peacefully assembling and participating in the 13th Istanbul LGBT Pride Parade.

“Everyone is entitled to the same fundamental human rights without discrimination or arbitrary restrictions of any kind, including the rights to life, liberty, physical integrity, privacy, equality before the law, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” he noted.

“We call on the Turkish authorities to take active measures to combat homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, to uphold the rights of LGBT people to peacefully assemble and express themselves and to ensure that LGBT victims of crimes are treated with respect and dignity and have access to protection mechanisms and effective remedy,” Mr. Colville said.

He went on to say that it is critical for authorities to prevent impunity for these human rights violations through prompt, effective, independent and impartial investigations and prosecution in line with fair trial norms and standards.

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