Turkey feuds with UN human rights officials

By David Bosco

Turkish officials are exchanging words with senior UN human rights monitors about the situation in the southeast of the country. Yesterday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed alarm at the situation in the town of Cizre, in particular:

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Tuesday that he had received a succession of alarming reports about violations allegedly committed by Turkish military and security forces in south-east Turkey over the past few months, and urged the Turkish authorities to give independent investigators, including UN staff, unimpeded access to the area to verify the veracity of such reports.

“More and more information has been emerging from a variety of credible sources about the actions of security forces in the town of Cizre during the extended curfew there from mid-December until early March,” Zeid said. “And the picture that is emerging, although still sketchy, is extremely alarming.”

For its part, the Turkish government insists that Zeid is misinformed and that UN officials are welcome to visit the area in question. “High Commissioner Zeid’s statements, which do not reflect the spirit of cooperation between Turkey and the U.N. in the field of human rights, are based on insufficient information and misdirection of biased circles,” a government official said. “In case he wishes, we would be pleased to host Mr. Zeid in our country in a way that would cover our Southeastern Anatolia region too.”

For detailed information on Turkey’s interactions with the UN human rights system, see here.

About David Bosco

Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service. Contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine. Author of Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics and Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World
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