UN slams Turkey for violating rights to work and education

UN slams Turkey for violating rights to work and education

BASEL, Switzerland — A panel of United Nations human rights experts on Thursday condemned Turkey for violating the right to work and education through blanket dismissals of civil servants and school teachers under a state of emergency.

The experts slammed Turkey’s dismissal of up to 134,000 public servants — including thousands of teachers — without due process or compensation, on the basis of alleged links with organizations Turkey has labeled as terrorist groups.

Turkey introduced a state of emergency in the wake of a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

The experts at the U.N. Human Rights Council said basic rights need to be respected even under a state of emergency, which must be limited in a democratic society.

“But there has been no attempt to show that these blanket measures, which have destroyed the careers and livelihoods of tens of thousands of persons, satisfy such criteria in each case,” the experts said.

They also noted that the closure of 200 media outlets had undermined the possibility of informed debate ahead of a referendum on whether to dramatically increase the powers of the presidency.

Turkish citizens vote Sunday on proposed constitutional amendments that would give Turkey a presidential system of governance which critics fear lacks checks and balances.

The experts said they were concerned that the proposed changes would empower Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to unilaterally declare future states of emergency and associated measures.

Pointing to the “sweeping” nature of the emergency decrees issued since July, the experts warned “such powers might be used in ways that exacerbate the existing major violations of economic, social, and cultural rights.”

The Associated Press