The Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) published its 2020 report on the situation of refugees in Turkey, reported Mesopotamia News Agency.
According to the IHD report, there were 3,645,557 Syrians in Turkey under temporary protection, as of 13 January 2021. Among them, 1.7 million (47.5%) were children aged between 0-18 years old. The total number of Syrian children and women numbered more than 2.5 million people (70.9% of the total), the report revealed.
It also estimated that there are 400,000 registered refugees from other countries in Turkey and that there are an additional one million (approximate) unregistered refugees in Turkey. The IHD identified 658 reported violations of rights against refugees in Turkey in 2020: “One of the main reasons for these violations is the practice of impunity: this should come to an end”, it stated.
IHD Istanbul Branch Co-Chair Gülseren Yoleri pointed out that even the refugees who obtained their legal status are still not applying to the judicial authorities for redress against the injustices they have experienced. “They are afraid of deportation”, she said.
According to the report, refugees are in need of protection and have been subjected to a number of violations of rights, including deportation, rejected asylum requests, torture, maltreatment, being subjected to extremely poor conditions in deportation centres and disappearance. To add to this, refugees have also had their ‘temporary-protection ID’s’ questionably confiscated, their applications for Turkish citizenship rejected, the right to education violated (linked to their residence permit status) and their rights to health care violated due to non-renewal of their ID’s.
They have also been subjected to threats of deportation, unjust deportation and administrative detention sentences. They have faced unemployment, poverty and rejection of social assistance and been subjected to violations of the rights to free movement. Many have been subjected to violence, threats, sexual abuse, labour law violations, non-payment of salaries, the İHD report concluded.
The IHD provided a list of recommendations that it believes can practically address these rights violations:
* Adopting a rights-based approach to refugees.
* Abandoning discriminatory discourses about refugees in media and politics.
* Ending the practice of impunity in hate crimes.
*Lifting the reservation to the 1951 Geneva Convention.
* Withdrawal of the Readmission Agreement between the EU and Turkey.
* Prevention of human trafficking by opening borders.
* Abandoning policies and discourses that push refugees to illegal and dangerous ways to cross the border.
* Getting the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR to restart its activities in Turkey.
* Establishing a system in Immigration Administration that meets the demands of refugees, especially for the receipt of international protection and residence applications.
* Ending the practices that violate the return ban.
* Implementing effective mechanisms to prevent abuse and violence against women and children, and also protection of women and children.
* Providing equal and sufficient opportunities in access to justice and benefiting from the protection of the law by taking into account the language barrier and financial problems
* Granting citizenship to refugees who have lived in Turkey for a long time and who cannot return to their countries of origin.
The full IHD report can be accessed here.