Reynders concerned by arrest of human rights activists in Turkey
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    Reynders concerned by arrest of human rights activists in Turkey

    © Belga
    Reynders considers that this situation is “very worrying” and “is an additional phase both restricting freedom of expression and the work of civil society organisations.
    © Belga

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, called on Thursday for Turkish authorities to end prosecutions “immediately and unconditionally” against eleven human rights militants. In a communiqué, Mr Reynders said he was concerned by both the arrest and extension of the detention of human rights activists. This is all taking place against the backdrop of the state of emergency currently effective in Turkey. In particular, the Director of Amnesty International in the country, and two international human rights experts, were arrested last week in Istanbul.

    He considers this situation is “very worrying” and “is an additional phase both in respect of the restrictions for freedom of expression and the work of civil society organisations, following the state of emergency being implemented.” The minister added, “These arrests are not justified, and the charges do not revolve around criminal activities.”

    As indicated above, the latter is calling upon the Turkish authorities to end all prosecutions against the eleven people affected, stressing the importance of the respect for individual human rights. This is on the basis of Ankara’s obligations by virtue of international human rights treaties.

    Mr Reynders further considered, “Respect for human rights and democratic principles is an important element of our relationship with Turkey.” Reynders is demanding that this situation be tackled, during the next political talks between the European Union and the state of Turkey on July 25th.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times