Urgent Interventions

Turkey : Threats against Mr. Ridvan Kizgin


TUR 001/0703/OBS 032
10th July 2003

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH
and OMCT joint program, requests your action on the following
situation in Turkey.

Brief description :

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Association
(IHD) in Ankara that Mr. Ridvan Kizgin, Chairman of the Bingöl Branch
of the IHD, received telephone threats on 8 and 9 July.

According to the information received, on 5 July, the Bingöl branch
of IHD released its report on the human rights situation in the
province of Bingöl during the six-month period from January to June
2003, showing an increase in human rights violations including ill-
treatment and harassment by state agents (police and gendarmerie).
The report, based on the testimonies of victims, was presented by Mr.
Kizgin during several press conferences.

On 8 July at around 10.30pm. Mr. Kizgin reportedly recieved a call on
his mobile phone by a person who introduced herself as the Provincial
Commander for Gendarmerie Regiment and asked Mr. Kizgin to report to
the Provincial Commandership. The reason invoked was that his
statements on human rights violations were false. He was asked not
not make new statements before he has talked to the Provincial
Commander and to explain to the press and public opinion that human
rights violations denounced were not representing the reality. Mr.
Kizgin refused to go to the Commandership.

On 9 July, Mr. Kizgin was reportedly called again on his mobile phone
at around 9.30am. The person on the phone said that the Commander
wanted to see him and asked him to come to the Commandership to
withdraw his statements on human rights violations and to make a new
statement that these allegations were not correct. Mr. Kizgin refused
again and condemned the method used by the provincial authorities.

The Observatory is very concerned by these threats against Mr. Kizgin
and would like to recall that since it was set up on 12th April 2001,
the Bingöl Branch of the IHD has been constantly subjected to
pressure (searches of its premises, documents confiscated, seal of
the association seized, etc). In addition, there has been a total of
47 court cases launched against Mr. Kizgin, on the grounds of the
activities that he carries out in the framework of the IHD. There are
already 5 investigations pending against him launched by the
prosecution (see Obervatory report on international mission of
judiciary observation, Judiciary harassment against human rights
defenders in Turkey, December 2002 and Annual Report 2002).

IHD immediately denounced this situation to the Prime Minister, the
Foreign and Interior Ministers, the General Command of Gendarmerie
and to the Human Rights Parliamentary Comission. Thirteen board
members of the organization were killed by extra judicial killing
during the 1990s after they received telephone similar phone calls.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Turkey urging them to:

i. put an end to any kind of harassment and threats against Mr.
Kizgin and all human rights defenders in the country, and ensure that
they be allowed to carry out their work without obstacles;
ii. abide by the provisions of the Declaration on the Protection of
Human Rights Defenders adopted on the 9th of December 1998, by the
U.N. General Assembly ("Declaration on the right and responsibility
of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect
universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms"),
particularly, Article 1 "Everyone has the right, individually and in
association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection
and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the
national and international level";
iii. more generally abide by the Universal declaration on Human
Rights and Covenants and international Conventions ratified by


1. Minister of Interior, Prof. Rüstü Kazim Yücelen, Içisleri
Bakanligi, 06644 Ankara, Turkey. Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95.
2. Minister of Justice, Prof Hikmet Sami Türk, Ministry of Justice,
Adalet Bakanligi, 06659 Ankara, Turkey. Fax: + 90 312 417 3954
3. State Minister with responsibility for Human Rights, Mr Nejat
Arseven, Office of the Prime Minister, Basbakanlik, 06573 Ankara,
Turkey. Fax: + 90 312 417 0476

Geneva - Paris, 10th July, 2003

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken, quoting the
code number of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a joint FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the
protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete
support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the Emergency Line:
E-mail: observatoire@iprolink.ch
Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 01 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 4122 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
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