Efficient Fight Against Discrimination and Hate Crimes with the New Reform PackageThe new reform package ´Human Rights Action Plan´ announced by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promises effective combat against discrimination and hate crimes.
Translation by Fiona DUENYAS
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the new reform package called Human Rights Action Plan. The comprehensive law reform package also includes significant steps to increase efficiency in the fight against discrimination and hate speech. According to the plan, new arrangements will be made in the Turkish Penal Code regarding discrimination and hate crimes.
"Everyone is equal before the law"
One of the 11 core principals of the plan that is set to be implemented over a 2-year period is stated as “Everyone is equal before the law without any discrimination based on language, religion, race, color, gender, political views, philosophical beliefs, sect or other reasons.”
Freedom of religion and conscience
The action plan depicted the activities necessary to ensure that freedom of religion and conscience are provided, in detail. Some of the actions declared were allowing public and private sector staff and students to take leave for their religious holidays, regardless of their religion, meeting regularly to determine problems and provide solutions with non-Muslim community representatives, and restructuring the Foundations Regulations on the issue of the non-Muslim community foundations electoral process.
Increasing the fight against hate speech
In the action plan that includes the clause, “Everyone is equal before the law without any discrimination based on language, religion, race, color, gender, political views, philosophical beliefs, sect or other reasons”, steps to be taken in professional life, education and penal code has been determined. Increasing the consciousness and awareness of also the press members regarding hate speech is included among the objectives.
Activities to ensure freedom of religion and conscience in the broadest manner
A - The related legislation and practice securing freedom of religion and conscience in the broadest manner will be reviewed per international human rights standards.
B - Public and private sector staff and students will be allowed to take leave for their religious holidays, regardless of their religion.
C - Prisoner and detainees in penal execution institutions will be granted additional rights including open meetings and video calls on their religious holidays.
D - Regarding the need and demand, appropriate spaces will be provided for people of different religions to practice their religion, in buildings and areas allocated for public use.
E - Meetings with non-Muslim community representatives will be organized regularly to determine problems and provide solutions.
F - Arrangements will be made in the Foundation Regulations regarding the non-Muslim community foundations board formation and electoral process.
Increasing efficiency in the fight against hate speech and discrimination
A - Hate speech and discrimination based on language, religion, race, color, gender, political views, philosophical beliefs, sect, or other reasons will be fought against effectively.
B - The efficiency of the policies to combat discrimination in professional life will be increased.
C - Investigation guides will be developed to effectively fight discrimination and hate crimes.
D - New regulations will be made in the Turkish Penal Code regarding discrimination and hate crime.
E - The victims severely affected by discrimination and hate crimes will be supported psychosocially and legally.
F - Educational material will be continued to be organized bearing in mind principles of objectivity, neutrality, and diversity.
G - A database will be developed, and statistics will be collected on discrimination and hate crimes data. Law enforcement and prosecution staff will be educated regarding the issue.
H - Through preparing education booklets for the press members, the awareness regarding hate and discrimination among press members will be increased.