Press Release from LGBT Organizations in Turkey

Published: February 2, 2011

On that Justice and Development Party (AKP) Government removed “sexual identity” phrase from the Draft Law on Combatting Discrimination and Equality Committee.

 2nd February 2011, Wednesday

We learned that Justice and Development Party (AKP) Government removed “sexual identity” phrase from the Draft Law on Combatting Discrimination and Equality Committee.

As LGBT organizations working for the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans individuals in Turkey, we urge that “sexual identity” phrase is re-added to the Draft Law on Combatting Discrimination and Equality Committee.

The removal of “sexual identity” phrase from this law proposal which was prepared to protect citizens against discrimination, legitimizes discrimination and human rights violations against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) individuals. The removal of “sexual identity” phrase from the proposal, demonstrated that the homophobic approach of Deputy Minister Aliye Kavaf which percieves homosexuality as an illness, reflects the policies of AKP Government once more.

The Government sent the “Draft Law Proposal on Combatting Discrimination and Equality Committee” which was promised to be regulated as one of the steps of “Democratic Opening”, to bar associations, academic circles and to NGOs through the Ministry of Interior in the end of 2009. The Ministry sent the “Draft Law” to Kaos GL Association for feedback in March last year.

In the 3rd Article of the Draft Law, named “Equality Principle, Anti-Discrimination and Discrimination Types Within The Scope of Ban”, the clause “discrimination is prohibited on the grounds of sex, race, color, language, belief, ethnicity, sexual identity, philosophical and political views, social status, … and similar grounds” existed. It was realized from the latest version of the Draft Law which is on the official website of the Ministry of Interior that the phrase “sexual identity” was removed.

The Minister of Interior stated during his speech from the Turkish National Assembly Chair in November 2009 that administrative inspection mechanisms on human rights would be established according to international rules and that Combatting Discrimination and Equality Committee would be formed.

A positive process started af ter meetings of the representatives of human rights organisations with the Minister. The Ministry of Interior started its study in this field by taking the draft law which was prepared by Human Rights Joint Platform with the contribution of Bilgi University and Minority Rights Group (MRG) into consideration. “Sexual identity” was within this study that re-defined the grounds of discrimination.

Within the Draft Law which was prepared by Human Rights Joint Platform and approved by the Ministry of Justice, “sexual identity” was defined as “heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transexual, transvestite and similar sexual identities”.

European Commission, in its “2010 Progress Report for Turkey”, listed the discriminative practices against LGBTs and underlined discrimination through the topics; “The Principle of Prevention of Discrimination is Not Obeyed”, “Deputy Minister Kavaf Encourages Discrimination”, “Decreases in the Sentences of Perpetrators of Homophobic Violence Exist”, “Turkish Armed Forces Practice Humiliating Medical Tests”, “The Right of Conscientious Objection is Not Recognized”, “No Progress was Realized as Regards to Anti-Discrimination in Labour Law”, “The Freedom of Association is Prevented”, “Discrimination as regards to Fundamental Rights of LGBTs Continues”, while stating “The Legislation in Turkey on discrimination is not in parallel with EU acquis. Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) individuals in terms of fundamental rights continues.”

We invite individuals and organisations who are sensitive about discrimination and human rights violations against LGBTindividuals to act and react to the Draft Law Proposal on Combatting Discrimination and Equality Committee of the AKP Government for the inclusion of the phrase “sexual identity”.

LGBT Organizations in Turkey

Çukurova Eþcinsel Ýnisiyatifi

Hevjîn Diyarbakýr LGBTT Oluþumu

Ýstanbul-LGBTT Dayanýþma Derneði

Kadýn Kapýsý

Kaos GL Derneði

Lambdaistanbul LGBTT Dayanýþma Derneði

MorEL Eskiþehir LGBTT Oluþumu

Pembe Hayat LGBTT Dayanýþma Derneði

Siyah Pembe Üçgen Ýzmir LGBTT Derneði
Voltrans Trans Erkek Ýnisiyatifi

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