UN Human Rights Commissioner urges Turkey to ‘defuse tensions’
Pillay called on civil society to turn the major challenges into an opportunity for 'resolving some remaining systemic problems in the country’s approach to the rule of law.' REUTERS PhotoUnited Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has urged the Turkish government and civil society to take action to defuse tensions over the Gezi Park protests, in a statement released June 18.
Pillay called on civil society to turn the major challenges into an opportunity for “resolving some remaining systemic problems in the country’s approach to the rule of law.”
She welcomed last week’s decision by the Turkish Government to put on hold further action on the Gezi Park development in Istanbul until there was a court decision, and then to submit the issue to a local referendum.
Drawing attention on the four lives lost during the protests so far, “The circumstances of some of these deaths remain yet to be clarified,” the statement said.
“I am particularly concerned about allegations of the excessive use of force by police against peaceful groups of protesters as this may have resulted in serious damage to health,” Pillay added.
“Reports that tear gas canisters and pepper spray were fired at people from close range, or into closed spaces, and the alleged misuse of rubber bullets, needs to be promptly, effectively, credibly and transparently investigated,” she said in the statement.
Calling on the authorities to take action over the “excessive use of force” allegations, Pillay said it should be punished if true and the rule of law should be fully restored.
Expressing the international concern about the “arbitrarily detentions,” she said that she was concerned about the allegations of ill-treatment of some of those held.
“These allegations must be investigated as a matter of urgency and any perpetrators should be brought to justice,” she said, adding, “the government must also provide adequate reparation to victims of excessive use of force and other serious human rights violations by security forces.”