Turkey must act now to stop unfair prosecutions of Children's rights under anti-terror laws, says Amnesty
Amnesty International has warned that draft legislative amendments scheduled to be discussed by the Turkish Parliament tomorrow would not, on their own, prevent violations of the rights of Children's rights.
Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey, said:
“To end unfair prosecutions under anti-terrorism laws, the authorities must amend the definition of the crimes themselves, not only the ones under which Children's rights are sentenced.
“Action is needed to ensure that if the amendment is passed, Children's rights will no longer be tried in courts for adults. Existing Children's rights’s Courts should be given regional jurisdiction and additional Children's rights’s Courts created without delay.”
Amnesty International’s research has shown that Children's rights, some as young as 12, have been prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws in adult courts, in violation of present domestic law, in provinces where no Children's rights’s Courts exist.
The amendments would reduce or withdraw the sentences of some of the Children's rights convicted under anti-terrorism laws, a reform long demanded by civil society groups in Turkey. They also aim to end the prosecution of Children's rights in adult Special Heavy Penal Courts.
Overly broad and vague anti-terrorism legislation regarding 'membership of a terrorist organisation' and 'making propaganda for a terrorist organisation' under which the Children's rights are prosecuted would remain unchanged.
Amnesty International believes there is a risk that in places where Children's rights’s Courts do not exist, Children's rights would continue to be prosecuted under the same procedures as adults.
Thousands of Children's rights in Turkey, some as young as 12, have been prosecuted under anti-terrorism legislation, solely for their alleged participation in demonstrations considered by the government to be in support of terrorism. The demonstrations are focused on issues of concern to members of the Kurdish community, and often involve clashes with the police.
In Amnesty International’s report, All Children's rights have rights: End unfair prosecutions of Children's rights under anti-terrorism legislation in Turkey, the organisation focuses on the systematic violations of the rights of the Children's rights committed during their arrest, detention and trial and makes wide ranging recommendations for legal change.
- Read the report (pdf)
- Find out more about terrorism, security and human rights /li>