Parliamentary commission ignores HDP deputy’s petitions on rights violations

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Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, deputy, in parliament.

The Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission has so far responded to none of the letters submitted to it by one of its own members, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, the T24 news website reported on Tuesday.

Gergerlioğlu has since July 18 submitted a total of 74 petitions to the commission, 61 of which were related to alleged human rights violations in 42 prisons, with the remaining 13 involving human rights issues outside of prisons. Regarding the alleged rights violations in prisons, Gergerlioğlu’s petitions had requested authorization for visits to the prisons in question.

All of the petitions went unanswered.

Speaking to T24, Gergerlioğlu drew attention to the fact that many of the petitions concerned urgent issues such as ailing prisoners, inmates claiming to have been tortured and prisoners in the last month of pregnancy who should have been released according to the law. “This is a dire outlook,” Gergerlioğlu said.

The commission is obligated by law to inform the petitioner within 60 days as to the outcome of their petition and any relevant action that is being taken on the issue.

Gergerlioğlu also submitted 46 parliamentary questions to the speaker’s office to be directed to Vice President Fuat Oktay and several ministers. These were also left unanswered. Twenty-six of them were not even published on the parliament’s website.

Gergerlioğlu is a doctor and human rights activist who was dismissed from public service by a government decree issued under a now-terminated state of emergency in January 2017. He was elected as a member of parliament from the HDP in the general election of June 2018.

He has been one of the most prominent human rights advocates speaking out against human rights violations committed during the two-year-long state of emergency declared after a coup attempt in July 2016.

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