Call To Turkey - Take Responsibility For Missing
Human rights experts and the families of missing persons have called on Turkey to find and prosecute individuals responsible for missing persons, said a report on www.bianet.org today from Istanbul.
The call followed the "Transitional Justice and Enforced Disappearances" conference organised by the Europe-Mediterranean Federation against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED).
Human rights defenders and families of the disappeared from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Spain, Cyprus, Kosovo, Libya, Lebanon, Serbia and Turkey were among the participants, including associations for families of the disappeared from other continents and experts from Turkish and international non-governmental organizations. The event was organized in partnership with the Turkish Human Rights Association (İHD), the Association for Solidarity and Support of Relatives of Disappeared People (YAKAY-DER) and the Mothers for Peace.
The meeting allowed the participants an insight into the different mechanisms of transitional justice and particularly of the Truth and Justice Commissions, their potential and their limits. Furthermore, the conference dealt with tensions between the objectives of peace and justice; reflexion on the potentials and the dangers of the different types of amnesty; emphasizing the preservation of memory and Human Rights archives in particular; underlining the importance of reparations for the families of the disappeared; promoting institutions and technologies regarding the identification of the bodies.
At the end of the three days meeting, the participants of the Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of the Families of the Disappeared called the countries of the region to act on the following issues:
- to put an end to the practise of enforced disappearances immediately;
- to put an end to secret detentions within the framework of counter-terrorism;
- to begin or to continue the dialog with the associations of the families of the disappeared in order to obtain an integral solution to the disappeared issue;
- to gain efficiency regarding the rights to Truth, Justice, and the right to complete reparation for the families and the victims of enforced disappearance;
- to provide an investigation of the truth and make it public by preserving mass graves and places of hidden detentions;
- to respect the rights of relatives and human rights defenders, particularly their right to freedom of association, freedom of expression and demonstration;
- to officially recognize the responsibility of the state for enforced disappearances and to apologize publically.
The Turkish authorities :
- should release the persons who are arbitrarily detained and to stop harassing human rights defenders;
- should immediately start an independent program of exhumation and identification of the bodies in mass graves, especially in Kurdish provinces;
- should establish a centralized data base concerning genetic information on the families of the disappeared and the bodies;
- should determine individual responsibilities and start prosecution upon applying sanctions against the ones who handled the procedures regarding the enforced disappearances.
The international community is urged to:
- to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances and pave the way for the acceptance of individual applications to the Committee against Enforced Disappearances;
- to strengthen international human rights mechanisms which are capable of the struggle against incidents of enforced disappearances, that is to say the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in particular.
The content of the above article was used with permission from www.bianet.org