Turkey – Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – February 2019

In February of 2019, the Advocates for Human Rights submitted a report to the 21st Session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities in Turkey are denied full access to public facilities, subjected to torture, are not fully integrated into the labor market, and are impeded from obtaining social support. In part because the government has failed to pass legislation that covers people who use service dogs, many people with visual disabilities are prevented from engaging with public facilities such as transit and government buildings. The report also finds that people with disabilities who criticize the government face arbitrary detention, torture, and coerced false confessions. People with disabilities have faced harsh government repression since the failed 2016 coup attempt. Although Turkey has proposed public awareness measure about torture, it has taken no substantive action to hold perpetrators accountable. Additionally, detained people with disabilities are denied adequate accommodations. Following the 2016 coup attempt, the government terminated employment of over 1,000 public sector employees with disabilities and barred them from future public service. Finally, the report details that although Turkey claims that social support applicants do not face discrimination based on gender, age, or ethnic or social origin, they did not respond to accusations of disability-based discrimination.

The alternative report offered suggested recommendations to the State Party, including the following:

  • Immediately issue regulations facilitating access for people with disabilities who use service animals and prohibiting all entities from barring access to any person on account of their use of a service animal to accommodate a disability.
  • Ensure that all persons with disabilities enjoy the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and do not face arrest or detention on account of political opinion.
  • Ensure that prison officials who engage in torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment are held accountable.