Jun 29 2018

Turkey, don’t ban LGBTI Pride March – Human Rights Watch

Turkey must adhere to the Council of Europe’s standards and stop arbitrarily prohibiting activities and events organised by the country’s LGBTI community, said Boris Dittrich, the advocacy director for Human Rights Watch’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program.

“Istanbul’s sixteenth Pride March is set to take place on July 1. But even as the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community (LGBTI) and supporters prepare to celebrate next week, it is unclear whether they will be free to do so,” wrote Dittrich.

The last Pride March in Istanbul was held in 2014, with bans preventing the march every year since then, and a blanket ban of LGBTI activities has been in place in the Turkish capital, Ankara, since 2017.

“Far-right and ultra-nationalist groups have also attempted to stop LGBTI people from marching, citing public morality and values,” wrote Dittrich. “Authorities have perversely used these threats as further justification to ban the march.”

LGBTI communities’ freedoms of assembly and expression were taken up by the Council of Europe, which is Turkey is a founding member of, in a 2010 recommendation to member states.

The Istanbul Governorate and Turkish authorities in general must “ensure LGBTI people are able to fully enjoy their rights to peaceful freedom of expression, association and assembly free of discrimination,” said Dittrich.

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