Ombudsman's Gezi report advises adoption of EU norms for mass protests

Ombudsman's Gezi report advises adoption of EU norms for mass protests

Ombudsmans Gezi report advises adoption of EU norms for mass protests

The police intervenes with water cannons and tear gas against the Gezi protesters in Ankara’s Kızılay Square in this file photo. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The Ombudsman’s report on the much-discussed Gezi protests advised the government to harmonize local laws regulating the right to assembly with international and European Union norms in order to promote freedoms and human rights in line with people’s expectations and demands in a democratic state. 

The 176-page report signed by Ombudsman Nihat Ömeroğlu was submitted to the Interior Ministry, Istanbul Governorship and Istanbul Mayor, upon individual complaints on the disproportionate use of force by the police during Gezi Park protests in June, Anadolu Agency reported Dec. 31. 

The 8-article list of advice includes ascertaining the wrongdoing of security forces, in terms of the use of disproportionate force, on the basis of universal declarations on human rights and prevention of torture and maltreatment and national laws stipulating the right to demonstrate. “An immediate conclusion of drafting a law that establishes a monitoring mechanism to identify security forces in wrongdoing and to pave the way for their accountability,” said the report, underlining that it should clearly frame and monitor in which cases proportionate force can be used. 

Educating security forces on universal conventions that guarantee individual rights and freedoms and providing them with constant courses on communication with different layers of the society, and on mass psychology, were important points the report drew attention on. Keeping special reports on the use of tear gas and similar agents during the demonstrations and providing better working conditions and psychological support for security forces were also advised by the Ombudsman’s report. 

In a bid to avoid the legitimization of illegal groups in Gezi-like mass protests in the future, the governor, the ministry and the mayor were advised to adopt clear strategies to prevent demonstrations from turning into mass protests, it said.