Hivos condemns arrests of human rights defenders in Istanbul

July 6, 2017

On 6 July in the middle of the night, we received the news that all the participants of a digital security training organised by Hivos in Turkey had been arrested and placed in incommunicado detention. The arrestees include a trainer from Germany, a trainer from Sweden, the director of Amnesty International in Turkey, and individual Turkish activists from human rights organisations.

Hivos is deeply concerned by these arrests as we believe that they were carried out because of the participants’ work in the defense of human rights. We call on the Turkish authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally and we call on EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who is currently visiting Turkey, to demand their immediate and unconditional release as well.

Hivos is equally concerned about the steadily shrinking space for civil society and human rights in Turkey, which has picked up pace in recent years and led to the current repressive environment with little room for countervailing powers. Hivos, Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders call on all the governments of G20 countries to address this issue at the G20 meeting currently taking place in Hamburg.

Worldwide, we see ever more governments trying to suppress human rights activists and civil society. This is why Hivos works with civil society and human rights activists to ensure they can do their work and engage in online activities safely.