Turkey blocking probes in southeast, says Human Rights Watch

Turkey blocking probes in southeast, says Human Rights Watch

Turkey blocking probes in southeast, says Human Rights Watch

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The Turkish government is blocking access for independent investigations into alleged abuses against civilians across southeast Turkey, Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated on July 11. 

“The government should promptly grant the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights permission to enter the area and investigate according to its standards,” a statement on HRW’s website read, adding that rigid curfews have been imposed in many towns since the restart of security operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in summer 2015.

“The curfews also prevent non-governmental organizations, journalists, and lawyers from scrutinizing those operations or any resulting abuses by security forces or armed groups. Authorities have blocked rights groups – including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Physicians for Human Rights – from trying to document abuses even after curfews and operations ended,” the statement said.

According to the HRW, the Turkish government has not responded to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein’s public statement in May, nor to his letter requesting permission for a U.N. team to conduct an investigation in the region. However, it added that the government has indicated that Zeid himself would be welcome to visit Turkey.

“The Turkish government’s effective blockade of areas of the southeast fuels concerns of a major cover-up,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Turkish government should give the U.N. and nongovernmental groups immediate access to the area to document what’s going on there.”