UN’s special rapporteur Kaye to visit Turkey to assess situation of freedom of expression

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United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of expression David Kaye smiles prior to start his FCC press conference in Tokyo on April 19, 2016. Kaye visited Japan to look into concerns about declining media freedom.

David Kaye, a clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, designated a special rapporteur by the United Nations Human Rights Council, is going to visit Turkey on Friday to observe the situation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the country.

According to a statement from the Office of the High Commissioner, United Nations Human Rights, on Monday, Kaye was invited by the Turkish government and will meet with authorities from the legislative, executive and judicial branches. He will also hold discussions with civil society representatives.

Kaye said in the statement that despite the fact that Turkey faced a clear assault on democratic institutions and governance in an attempted coup on July 15, the space for critical voices, academics, journalists, lawyers and others in civil society has been under threat.

He underlined that he will monitor and report on key issues such as violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression during his visit to Turkey.

“The visit will be an important opportunity for me to gather first-hand information on the independence of the media and the safety of journalists, activists and academics, as well as the measures taken to ensure public debate in the country,” the independent expert said, recalling that a previous mission to assess freedom of expression in Turkey was conducted in 1996 by the then-special rapporteur, Abid Hussain.

Kaye will prepare a report for the Human Rights Council on the main findings of his visit and make recommendations on the promotion of the right to freedom of expression in Turkey.

Kaye was appointed as special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in August 2014 by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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