Turkey: UN expert on arbitrary executions to assess current level of protection of right to life

GENEVA (23 November 2012) - United Nations expert Christof Heyns will conduct an official visit to Turkey from 26 to 30 November 2012, to assess the situation of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in the country, including inter alia follow up on recommendations made in 2001.

“My upcoming visit represents a vital opportunity to assess the current level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice in Turkey,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. “I will focus in particular on efforts to ensure accountability in cases of unlawful killings and death threats, as well as any efforts to strengthen prevention measures in such cases.”

“One of my predecessors undertook a visit to Turkey in 2001, after which she formulated recommendations* to the Turkish Government on these issues,” Mr. Heyns noted. “My mission will thus also create an opportunity to identify progress made by Turkey concerning protection of the right to life in the past eleven years, as well as any difficulties that may persist.”

On the basis of his analysis, the UN Special Rapporteur will make recommendations to assist the country in exploring avenues to strengthen the protection of the right to life.

During his five-day mission, the expert will visit Ankara and Diyarbakir to meet with several high-ranking officials at central and local levels, as well as various international and local non-governmental organizations, academics and UN agencies. He will also meet informally with civil society in Istanbul, prior to the start of the official mission.

Mr. Heyns will hold a press conference on 30 November 2012 at 2:30 pm at the Hilton Hotel in Ankara (Tahran Caddesi No. 12, Kavaklidere), where he will share his preliminary observations. His report on the visit to Turkey will be presented in a forthcoming session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2013.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns (South Africa), is a director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria, where he has also directed the Centre for Human Rights, and has engaged in wide-reaching initiatives on human rights in Africa. He has advised a number of international, regional and national entities on human rights issues. Mr. Heyns’ research interests include international human rights law and human rights law in Africa. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/SRExecutionsIndex.aspx

(*) Check the 2001 report on Turkey: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G01/163/37/PDF/G0116337.pdf?OpenElement

UN Human Rights Country Page – Turkey: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/TRIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva: UN Human Rights (+41 22 917 9158 / eje@ohchr.org)
In Ankara: Ahmet Parla, UNIC Ankara (Tel + 90 312 454 1051 / Cell + 90 533 500 1497 / ahmet.parla@unic.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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