INTERNATIONAL GAY & LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Original Article: bit.ly/1vHo2md
"You don’t have rights if you are not present," is the rallying call of a new campaign headed by IGLHRC’s Istanbul-based partners at Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI). With the campaign, advocates hope to encourage active participation of LGBTI people in decision- and policy-making processes in advance of the country’s general election in June 2015.
Turkey’s general election, held every four years, uses a party-list system to divide the General National Assembly’s 550 seats among elected parties. Rather than casting a ballot for individual candidates, voters choose only a party. Currently, four national parties are represented in Parliament with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) holding 312 seats, followed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which has 127 seats.
Although Turkey does not have sodomy laws or laws criminalizing gender expression, “unjust provocation” laws are used to lighten sentences for violence against LGBTI people and the “law of misdemeanors” is used to “ legitimize daily fines, extortion, eviction, detention, and police brutality” of transgender people. There are also no laws on the books to protect individuals against discrimination or violence, based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
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