UN ‘deeply concerned’ about anti-LGBT violence in Turkey

The United Nations has expressed “deep concern” over recent attacks against LGBT people in Turkey.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged authorities to tackle the spate of violence, and to curb discrimination.

“In the past two weeks alone, reported incidents include the appearance of posters in Ankara encouraging the murder of LGBT people; a violent homophobic attack against a group of young gay men in Istanbul; as well as rape, assault and robbery against Kemal Ördek, a human rights defender and founder of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Colville went on to say that the Office is “further concerned about allegations that in the last case, police officers trivialised the attack, used discriminatory language, tried to dissuade the victim from filing a complaint, and did not provide protection from additional threats by the alleged perpetrators.”

He also noted the case of police using unwarranted force to tackle peaceful demonstrators at Istanbul Pride.

Videos from the event showed water cannons and tear gas being used against demonstrators.

“Everyone is entitled to the same fundamental human rights without discrimination or arbitrary restrictions of any kind, including the rights to life, liberty, physical integrity, privacy, equality before the law, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” Colville noted.

“We call on the Turkish authorities to take active measures to combat homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, to uphold the rights of LGBT people to peacefully assemble and express themselves and to ensure that LGBT victims of crimes are treated with respect and dignity and have access to protection mechanisms and effective remedy,” Colville continued.

As well as tackling these issues, Colville also called for investigations into the attacks on LGBT people, and those at Istanbul Pride.