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Freedom Of Belief Initiative’s Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee for the List of Issues Prior to Reporting

Freedom of Belief Initiative made a submission to the UN Human Rights Committee ahead of the adoption of the List of Issues Prior to Reporting for the third periodic report of Turkey at its 132nd session.

The monitoring body of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), welcomes fact sheets and questions from non-governmental organizations to identify questions to be sent to governments to monitor whether the Convention is being implemented effectively by the States Parties. In this context, the Freedom of Belief Initiative conveyed its questions to the HRC in May 2021 on the right to freedom of religion or belief in Turkey.

Accordingly, in the submission, the Government of Turkey was requested to provide information on the following topics: 

Measures taken, 

  • to withdraw its reservation with respect to article 27 of the Covenant, 
  • to guarantee the right of all persons to manifest their religion or belief in community with others through the recognition of their right to organize themselves in the form of associations or foundations and gain legal personality as religious or belief communities, as such, 
  • to prohibit hate speech in line with article 20 of the Covenant and prevent hate crimes against committed with religious or belief base bias, 
  • to protect the right to conscientious objection to military service, 
  • to ensure that the compulsory Religious Culture and Ethics course (4-12 Grades) does not violate the child’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and respects the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions, in compliance with article 18 of the Covenant, 
  • to ensure that religious or belief communities can establish and maintain places of worship and that place of worship status which affords financial and other benefits is granted in a non-discriminatory manner, particularly for the Alevi, Protestant and Jehovah’s Witnesses communities in line with article 18 of the Covenant, 
  • to ensure that all religious or belief communities can train their religious teachers or leaders in Turkey in line with article 18 of the Covenant, 
  • address the issues of freedom of religion or belief, article 18, and the right to fair trial, article 14, freedom of movement, article 12, and protection of aliens against unlawful expulsion, article 13 in connection to the recent trend to issue travel restrictions and deportations of Christian foreigners. 

Please click here to read the full submission.