“Hate speech by politicians hasn't risen to this level since '30s”

Amnesty International released the annual international report covering 150 countries on human rights. It is stated that “the cynical use of ‘us vs them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear" creates a more divided and dangerous world. For Turkey, 2016 was a year in which violations of human rights have increased with the state of emergency.

The report titled “The State of the World's Human Rights” pointed out the armed clashes, attacks against civilians, ongoing refugee crisis and “politics of demonization” all around the world. Amnesty International stated that there is a global push-back against human rights and the reactions against mass atrocities have weakened. 

Speaking about the report, Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty said, "2016 was the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s. More and more politicians calling themselves anti-establishment are wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people” and reminded Trump, Orban, Erdoğan and Duterte. Donald Trump's presidential campaign is put as an example to the trend of “angrier and more divisive politics". Besides, it is determined that "political leaders in various parts of the world also wagered their future power on narratives of fear, blame and division."

In 2016, it is observed that "governments turned a blind eye to war crimes, passed laws that violate free expression, justified torture and mass surveillance and extended draconian police powers." It is also noted that divisive discourse against feminists and LGBTIs have increased. 

"We have to take a stand against governments"

Amnesty International warned that crises might get tenser. "The more countries backtrack on fundamental human rights commitments, the more we risk a domino effect of leaders emboldened to knock back established human rights protections," said Shetty and added: "We cannot passively rely on governments to stand up for human rights, we the people have to take action. Every person must ask their government to use whatever power and influence they have to call out human rights abusers."

36 countries illegally sent refugees back

The report also includes findings concerning the ongoing refugee crisis. According to the report, "36 countries violated international law by unlawfully sending refugees back to a country where their rights were at risk." On the other hand, governments targeted refugees and immigrants most in their divisive discourses. The report mentions Trump's visa ban on 7 Muslim countries and the "migration deal" between the EU and Turkey. It is stated that immigrants have been subjected to grave pressure in many countries, especially in China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Thailand and Turkey. The reports also stated that "the Australian government’s policy of 'processing' refugees and asylum-seekers on Nauru involved a deliberate and systematic regime of neglect and cruelty, designed to inflict suffering."

"Over 40,000 pre-trial detentions during six months of emergency rule"

The report covers the situation in Turkey under the titles of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, torture and other ill-treatment, excessive use of force, impunity, abuses by armed groups, refugees and asylum seekers and internally displaced people.

Covering especially what happened after the coup attempt, the report states, "An attempted coup prompted a massive government crackdown on civil servants and civil society. Those accused of links to the Fethullah Gülen movement were the main target." Amnesty International states, "Over 40,000 people were remanded in pre-trial detention during six months of emergency rule. There was evidence of torture of detainees in the wake of the coup attempt."

Violence against the opposition

It is stated that nearly 90,000 civil servants were dismissed, 184 media outlets and 375 NGOs were closed down, 188 journalists, activists and 12 MPs were detained. It is also stated that "the government replaced elected mayors from 53 municipalities with government trustees; 49 mayors were from the Kurdish, opposition Democratic Regions Party (DBP)."

While the report states that "armed clashes between PKK and state forces continued mainly in the majority Kurdish east and southeast of the country", it is pointed out that "there was an increase in cases of torture and other ill-treatment reported in police detention, from curfew areas in southeast Turkey and then more markedly in Ankara and Istanbul in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt." It is reported that human rights had been violated especially in the Southeast Turkey during round-the-clock curfews and these violations go unpunished.

It is also stated that "A UN factfinding mission to the south-east was blocked by the authorities who also obstructed national and international NGOs, including Amnesty International, from documenting human rights abuses in the region."

For reading the full report, click here


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Aleksia Kotam