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23 02 2009 - the Bar Human Rights Committee and the Kurdish Human Rights Project
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers invites you
to the launch of:

Tuesday 24 February 2009, 6.30pm, Committee Room
4A, House of Lords, Westminster, London SW1
Host & chair: Lord Rea
_Professor Bill Bowring
_Mark Muller QC, barrister, Chair
of the Bar Human Rights
Committee and the Kurdish
Human Rights Project
_Margaret Owen, Director,
Widows for Peace through
_John Hobson, barrister
Supported by: Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign and Campaign Against
Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers with colleagues from Finland and Norway sent a delegation to investigate whether Turkey is implementing its commitments on prison reform and conditions of detention, in February 2008.
The delegation met authoritative nongovernmental organisations, representatives of the main political parties, practising lawyers, former prisoners and families of prisoners.
Turkey has now undertaken obligations both under the Council of Europe’s European Convention for the Prevention of Torture (ECPT),
and under the Copenhagen Criteria (the conditions for its joining the European Union).
However, a summary of Turkey’s recent history in a report published in 2007 by Amnesty International, demonstrated that compliance with those undertakings will require fundamental changes in law and practice.
The lawyers’ delegation in 2008 reports on Turkey’s continuing failure to comply with international human rights law, in particular its failure to respect minority rights for the Kurds, and reports of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment in Turkey’s prisons, with women being subject to particularly harsh treatment. Turkey maintains high-security F-type prisons, where prisoners are kept isolated from each other in conditions designed to produce “psychological stress”.
The delegation met lawyers and family members of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, held in solitary confinement on Imrali Island, in the Sea of Marmara. Öcalan’s rights to visits from
his family are not respected, his lawyers are monitored and subjected to harassment.
The delegation concludes that Turkey’s ratification of international instruments, its desire to achieve accession to the European Union, and the appearance of reform, are all consistently undermined by actual practice. It recommends 29 practical steps by which Turkey could achieve compliance with international law.

Further information:
p&p Haldane Society, PO Box 57055, London EC1P 1AF


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