Current issues in Turkish prisons submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Carolina Silvestre, Dimitrios Chasouras, María Núñez Fontán, Olimpia Guidi, Samantha Orozco, Vahit Uzunlar

Through this report, our organisation aims to address current issues and promote good practices in prison management, focusing on Turkey. In alignment with the objectives set forth by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), this thematic report endeavours to shed light on the prevailing challenges and commendable practices within the Turkish prison system. The report considers the OHCHR’s delineation of eight crucial focus areas, which serves as the foundational framework for our comprehensive assessment of Turkey’s prison management practices through “Call 9.” As a critical contribution to the discourse on human rights and prison conditions, this report aims to offer valuable insights and recommendations for enhancing the well-being and dignity of detainees within Turkey’s correctional facilities, thereby advancing the cause of human rights on a global scale.

For the comprehensive evaluation of prison management in Turkey, “Broken Chalk” has laid down ten critical points of focus that underpin the core objectives of this report. These ten key areas encompass issues of profound importance in understanding prison conditions and human rights in the Turkish correctional system. These points are as follows:

  1. Babies in Turkish Prisons: The presence of infants in correctional facilities raises concerns about the rights and well-being of both the child and the incarcerated parent.
  2. Sick Prisoners in Turkey: Ensuring adequate healthcare and treatment for ill inmates is fundamental to their human rights.
  3. Pregnant Women in Turkish Prisons: The unique needs of expectant mothers behind bars require special attention and care.
  4. Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Turkish Prisons: In light of the global pandemic, examining the impact of COVID-19 on prison populations is of utmost importance.
  5. Deaths Due to Sickness in Turkish Prisons: Understanding the circumstances leading to deaths within prisons is essential to addressing systemic issues.
  6. Parole Right Violations in Turkish Prisons: Ensuring prisoners’ rights to parole are respected and upheld is critical in fair and just incarceration.
  7. Allegations of Torture and Ill-Treatment in Turkish Prisons: Investigating claims of torture and ill-treatment is critical for upholding human rights and international standards.
  8. Exceeding Capacity in Turkish Prisons: Overcrowding poses significant challenges to the well-being of inmates, and its implications are central to this report.
  9. Denial of the Right to Defence in Turkish Prisons: Ensuring access to legal representation and due process is pivotal in safeguarding the rights of those incarcerated.
  10. Access to Health Services in Turkish Prisons: Adequate healthcare services are a fundamental human right for those within the prison system.

    Each of these points has been included in the report to shed light on specific areas of concern within the Turkish prison system, with the ultimate goal of improving conditions, safeguarding human rights, and contributing to international discourse on the subject.