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ICR Conference

International Community and Refugees: Responsibilities, Possibilities and Violations of Human Rights Conference, ICR Conference, will be held on May 13 -14, 2016 in Istanbul.

#HumanRightsIstanbul

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International community’s crises is ongoing vis-a-vis increasing refugee population

Amnesty International organized an international conference “International Community: Responsibilities, Opportunities, Human Rights Violations” with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation between 13 and 14 May 2016 in Istanbul prior to the “World Humanitarian Summit”. Around 500 experts, scholars and representatives from civil society participated to the conference.

The conference was composed of four sessions and the first session, entitled “Refugees in the Region”, focused on different country experiences hosting significant refugee populations.

Speakers of the first sessions pointed to increasing human rights violations and violent incidents in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and African countries. Speakers stated that internal war in Syria, which started in 2011, has the most serious impact on civilians and left millions of Syrian either internally displaced or forced them seek refuge in neighbouring countries. Speakers also remarked that the unarmed uprising in Syria has been gradually transformed into a civil war characterised with ethnic, religious and sectarian axes and with the emergence of armed groups fighting against Syrian army as well as other armed organisations such as the IS, the civil war is now become a war where multiple actors are involved.

During the first session, speakers further stated that due to ongoing violence in Syria, hundreds of thousands people were killed and tens of thousands were injured or have lost their lives over the course of border crossings. Speakers have also emphasized that the humanity is facing the worst refugee crisis and poor conditions in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are forcing refugees to pursue journeys toward Europe.

All speakers of the first session noted that the international community have failed to take responsibility and the number of persons seeking to cross Europe mainly through Turkey and the number of persons who have lost their lives have reached an all-time high in 2015.

In their presentations on challenges faced by refugees in the region, speakers registered their criticism and stated that refugees are deprived of many rights & entitlements in countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and further noted that access to fundamental rights and freedoms is increasingly becoming more problematic. Several speakers shared that although the majority of refugees are experiencing physical and mental health problems which require immediate health care; the actual number of refugees who enjoyed access to these service is very low.

Speakers further raised their concerns on widespread poverty and unfavourable working conditions facing refugees as well as sexual harassment and abuses inflicted upon women and girls. Speakers have further pointed to the precarious legal status of refugees as the major obstacle before registering complaints about sexual assaults and other rights violations and access to justice. As a final note, speakers stated that although countries like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon claim to maintain an “open border policy”, they are increasing sealing of their borders and this, in turn, renders legal and safe routes virtually an impossible option for the majority of Syrian refugees.

During the first session of the conference, one of the speakers focused on Cyprus as a “neglected” territory and shared rights violations faced by refugees. The de facto division of Cyprus and the ambiguity of the legal status in the northern part of the island were cited as key reasons behind arbitrary practices. The speaker also noted although Turkish Cypriot authorities continues to make references to their international obligations, the non-recognition and lack of a local asylum system constitute major barriers before refugees’ access to asylum and fundamental rights.

The situation of the refugees in Turkey was discussed from different axes in the second session, entitled “Refugees in Turkey”.

It’s stated that population of the refugees from Syria and other countries is over 3 million which is the largest number in Turkish history.

It’s noted by several speakers that although Turkey claims to maintain open gate policy on all occasions; it is unavailable to cross Turkey by safe and official routes for people without passports.

During the session speakers gave examples of deportations and forced “voluntary” repatriation of Syrian refugees in Turkey as well as practices of push back. Speakers pointed to some incidents including beaten refugees and refugees whom are shot by a gun fire. Speakers also noted that at the end of the fifth year of the refugee wave there are still big troubles accessing the fundamental rights like health, education, housing and work.

During the third session entitled ‘International Community and Refugees’, reactions and responses of the international community, especially EU for the biggest refugee population of history is discussed in detail. Speakers noted that EU has decided to strengthen precautions in order to prevent migration of refugees and asylum seekers to the EU territories with such as preventing secure transition opportunities by building ditches and barbed wires over borders.

Speakers also emphasized that recent experiences are just examples of the historical attitude of EU about shifting off responsibility about protection of refugees from EU countries to another countries

According to the speakers, EU uses not only Turkey but also Morocco to be able to get rid of these responsibilities.

The agreement regulating refoulement of immigrants and refugees to Turkey over Greece, signed between Turkey and EU in March 18 is emphasized in this session. It has discussed that refoulement of immigrants and refugees based on hypothesis of that Turkey is a secure country. It is claimed that the agreement and refoulement are clearly against law and it is unknown how and where the money that is promised by EU for sending to Turkey will be spent. It is also emphasized that there should not be more detention center and financial support should be spent to make easier to access to the basic human rights for refugees.

It is also stated that although EU and Turkey believes that human smuggling and irregular transitions can be prevented with mentioned agreement; it is very hard to be successful about that issue due to lack of regular and secure transition opportunities to the refugees. That the refugees who reaches Greece does not have an effective asylum system and judicial assistance, asylum applications does not evaluated properly and applicants who is denied is still under the risk of refoulement to Turkey are all discussed in this session.

Speakers also implied that interchanging of refugees between EU and Turkey cannot be accepted and also this means the collapse of refugee law. It is also mentioned that EU is using the definitions, criteria and mechanisms of secure country and as a legal tool to get rid of the responsibility.

Presentations also show that Turkey has regulated the migration areas with circular s until 2013 and because of that, violation of law became more systematic. It is remembered that European Court of Human Right has determined that Turkey is violating the European Convention on Human Rights in many cases. 2013 legislative regulation was an important step but it is also remarked the necessity of more radical and rooted policies.

Examples given for the agreement between EU and Turkey, it is again mentioned that EU is again unfair just as the example of Libya. While requirements of refugees are still ongoing in Turkey, it is remarked that using all financial supports for building detention centers is worrisome. Speakers also indicated that conditions of detention centers and practice of administrative detention causes many abuses and violations and also unlawfulness.

At the last session of the conference entitled “Is Turkey a safe country?”, human rights in Turkey is discussed from the point of safe country discussions.

The speakers pointed to the migration applications from Turkey to Europe which are caused by spread human rights violations and a considerable amount of those applications are accepted in terms of matching the refugee criteria.

It is stated that safe country issue cannot be discussed before ending human rights violations like torture, right to live, freedom of speech and freedom of press, etc…

Another point emphasized during the session were the curfews imposed in the Eastern Turkey. It’s pointed that during the curfews hundreds of people lost their lives and many kinds of human rights violations occurred.

During the speeches, it is also noted that, increasing number of human rights violations, attitude against opponents, pressure on freedom of speech and press shows that Turkey is not a safe country.

It’s noted that judicial independence in Turkey has been wiped out and impunity for crimes committed by public officials are common. Speakers further raised their concerns on the debate of  whether Turkey is a “safe country” or not, midst of all those violations of human rights.

Amnesty International Turkey and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation will publish a book consist of the full text of all the speeches of the two day conference in the forthcoming months.

International Topics

Speakers from all over the region and sessions on International perspectives

Multilingual Support

ICR Conference will be bilingual. Turkish / English simultaneous translation will be avaliable on all sessions.

PROGRAM

Click the titles to see details. For large programme poster click the image.

[ Click poster for large image ]

Programme Poster

Registration

30 mins

Openning Session

Speakers:
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Amnesty International Turkey (Taner Kılıç, Chair of Board Members) International Community and Refugees: Responsibilities, Possibilities and Violations of Human Rights Conference, (ICR Conference) openning session.

30 mins

Refugees in the Region (First Session)

In this session, it is planned to hold presentations/discussions on possibilities/problems about access to rights and services by refugees, provided rights for refugees by authorities and about violation of rights in processes and regions where refugees intensively settled. Refugees’ rights and access to rights in fields where refugees settled intensively; particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, Egypt will be discussed in detail during this session.

75mins

Saloon B

Coffee Break

30mins

Reguees in the Region (Second Session)

In this session, it is planned to hold presentations/discussions on possibilities/problems about access to rights and services by refugees, provided rights for refugees by authorities and about violation of rights in processes and regions where refugees intensively settled. Refugees’ rights and access to rights in fields where refugees settled intensively; particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, Egypt will be discussed in detail during this session.

75mins

Lunch Break

90mins

Refugees in Turkey (First Session)

In this session, it is planned to organise presentations/discussions on access of refugees to rights and services, released by the authorities in Turkey, where approximately 3 millions of refugees are hosted. Furthermore, laws/legal regulations about refugees in Turkey, access to rights by refugees, local refugee policies and implementations in Turkey will be the other mentioned topics of this session, along with the “non-refoulement principle” and the administrative detention.

75 mins

Coffee Break

30mins

Refugees in Turkey (Second Session)

In this session, it is planned to organise presentations/discussions on access of refugees to rights and services, released by the authorities in Turkey, where approximately 3 millions of refugees are hosted. Furthermore, laws/legal regulations about refugees in Turkey, access to rights by refugees, local refugee policies and implementations in Turkey will be the other mentioned topics of this session, along with the “non-refoulement principle” and the administrative detention.

75mins

International Community and Refugees (First Session)

Discussions on globally increasing refugee population and responsibilities, international community's responsibilities and duties, needs and access of refugees to human rights are planned to be hold in this session. Migration policies of EU and European countries as well as policies and works of UN bodies will also be scrutinized in this session. Migration policies of Non-European states like Russia, China and Gulf Countries which are disregarded within international discussions will be discussed. Furthermore, general discussions on refugee deal between Turkey and EU, readmission agreements between Turkey and EU as well as Greece and Turkey, concepts of "safe country of origin" and "safe third country" is planned.

75mins

Coffee Break

30mins

International Community and Refugees (Second Session)

Discussions on globally increasing refugee population and responsibilities, international community's responsibilities and duties, needs and access of refugees to human rights are planned to be hold in this session. Migration policies of EU and European countries as well as policies and works of UN bodies will also be scrutinized in this session. Migration policies of Non-European states like Russia, China and Gulf Countries which are disregarded within international discussions will be discussed. Furthermore, general discussions on refugee deal between Turkey and EU, readmission agreements between Turkey and EU as well as Greece and Turkey, concepts of "safe country of origin" and "safe third country" is planned.

45mins

Lunch Break

90mins

Turkey: A “safe country” ? / Human Rights in Turkey (First Session)

Pursuant to discussions about Turkey’s being a "safe third country" and “safe country of origin” relevant to the refugee deal between Turkey and EU, presentations will take place on human rights violations and discussions in Turkey. Violations of right to live, impunity, denial of right to assembly, freedom of expression and press and right to know the truth will be discussed. Human rights regulations and related laws, policies and practices in Turkey will also be discussed.

75mins

Coffee Break

30mins

Turkey: A “safe country” / Human Rights in Turkey ? (Second Session)

Pursuant to discussions about Turkey’s being a "safe third country" and “safe country of origin” relevant to the refugee deal between Turkey and EU, presentations will take place on human rights violations and discussions in Turkey. Violations of right to live, impunity, denial of right to assembly, freedom of expression and press and right to know the truth will be discussed. Human rights regulations and related laws, policies and practices in Turkey will also be discussed.

75mins

4.8

(MILLION) registired Syrian refugees (Source: UNHCR)

1.0

(MILLION) refugees transpassed to Europe in 2015 (Source: UHNCR)

2.7

(MILLION) est. number of refugees in Turkey

REGISTER

We are sorry to inform you that registration for audience is closed due to seat quota. Thank you all for your deep interests.

Audience

We are sorry to inform you that registration for audience is closed due to seat quota. Thank you all for your deep interests.

VENUE

Elite World Istanbul Hotel

Sehit Muhtar Caddesi No:42 Taksim Istanbul Turkey 

SPEAKERS

plus

Aitor Zabalgogeazkoa

Médecins Sans Frontières

plus

Andrew Gardner

Amnesty International

plus

Ayham Dalal

Technische Universität Berlin

plus

Burcu Karakaş

Freelance Journalist

plus

Faika Deniz Pasha

Cyprus Refugee Rights

plus

Gabriele Gün Tank

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

plus

Giorgos Kosmopoulos

Amnesty International

plus

İrem Somer

Association for Solidarity with Refugees

plus

Güney Yıldız

BBC

plus

Kathryn Ramsey

Amnesty International

plus

Asst. Prof. Kerem Altıparmak

Ankara University

plus

Asst. Prof. Lami Bertan Tokuzlu

Bilgi University

plus

Asst. Prof. Latife Akyüz

Academician

plus

Martina Michels

GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament

plus

Assoc. Prof. Murat Erdoğan

Hacettepe Univeristy

plus

Prof. Dr. Nuray Ekşi

Yeditepe University

plus

Oktay Durukan

Refugee Rights Turkey

plus

Öztürk Türkdoğan

Human Rights Association

plus

Rengin Arslan

BBC

plus

Seda Altuğ

Bogazici University

plus

Simona Gatti

Delegation of the European Union to Turkey

plus

Prof. Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

plus

Taner Kılıç

Amnesty International Turkey

Speakers list is being updated.

CONTACT

If you need further information or have any questions, please feel free to contact us


Phone: +90312 418 83 40 Fax: +90312 418 83 41

Mail: icrconference@amnesty.org.tr 

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