Special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism to visit Turkey

14 Feb 2006

The Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Martin Scheinin, will visit Turkey from 16 to 23 February 2006 at the invitation of the Government.

The Special Rapporteur will gather first-hand information about past, current and future initiatives in the area of counterterrorism and how such measures affect the protection and promotion of human rights. He will meet with Government officials, Parliamentarians, the National Security Council, the military, non-governmental organizations, as well as international organizations.

He will visit Ankara and the Diyarbakir Province. The Special Rapporteur also plans to meet with individuals affected by counterterrorism measures, as well as suspects detained or charged with offences related to terrorism.

The Special Rapporteur will prepare a comprehensive report on his findings, including "best practices" in the area of counterterrorism measures that are compatible with human rights, and a list of recommendations.

The Special Rapporteur will also inform the press about his preliminary findings and recommendations on 23 February 2006 at 11.30 a.m. The press conference will take place at the UN House in Ankara.

Mr. Scheinin accepted the appointment as first Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism on 8 August 2005. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity.

He previously served eight years as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. He was the Committee's Rapporteur in the drafting of General Comment No. 29 guiding countries on the application of states of emergency in a way that respects international human rights law.

From 2001-2004 he served as the Committee's Special Rapporteur on new communications or complaints from individuals alleging violations of their rights. He is Professor of Constitutional Law and International Law and Director of the Human Rights Institute at Abo Akademi University in Finland.

In the meantime, the Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Prof. Dr. Walter Kälin will also be in Ankara on 23-24 February 2006 in order to participate in a conference on Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).

The conference, which aims to provide an opportunity for civil society and state institutions engaged in the IDP issues to benefit from global and national experience, is organized within the framework of the project entitled Support to the Development of an IDP Program in Turkey. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior and the State Planning Organization are the national partners of this UNDP managed project.