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Media Watch 2004

17 December 2004
Source: EU Business
Author:
Comment: The following is an AFP report of EU Business of 17 December 2004.
Torture treatment agency urges Turkey to tackle torture issue
"The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) said that its Turkish partner, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, treated 924 people, including 225 women and 33 children, at its five centres in 2003. From January 1 to September 14, 2004, 596 people were treated. "More than half of these torture victims, 306 to be precise, are victims of recent torture, claiming to have been tortured in 2004"... Turkey "may have fulfilled all legal reforms in line with the EU's ... criteria, (but) with regard to torture, the reforms have yet to be implemented." "There is still impunity for torturers and torture is still widespread," she said. The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and the Human Rights Association of Turkey have "often been subjected to intimidationn and harassment by the authorities,"..."

An international organisation that helps victims of torture on Friday urged Turkey's government to be "open-minded, honest and transparent" and not downplay the problem of torture in its upcoming membership talks with the European Union.

The EU decided Friday to start membership negotiations with Turkey in October 2005.

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) said that its Turkish partner, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, treated 924 people, including 225 women and 33 children, at its five centres in 2003.

From January 1 to September 14, 2004, 596 people were treated.

"More than half of these torture victimes, 306 to be precise, are victims of recent torture, claiming to have been tortured in 2004," the IRCT said.

IRCT Secretary General Brita Sydhoff urged Ankara officials to "collaborate with the anti-torture movement and to support rehabilitation and redress for victims of torture".

Sydhoff noted that Turkey "may have fulfilled all legal reforms in line with the EU's ... criteria, (but) with regard to torture, the reforms have yet to be implemented."

"There is still impunity for torturers and torture is still widespread," she said.

The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and the Human Rights Association of Turkey have "often been subjected to intimidationn and harassment by the authorities," the IRCT said, recalling that government officials, "including the Prime Minister of Turkey, have downplayed facts about the use of torture in Turkey."

The IRCT is an independent, international organisation of health care professionals that treats torture victims. It has helped set up some 200 treatment centres worldwide."