32 Hate Crimes Directed at LGBTI People Appeared in the Press in 2015

According to Kaos GL’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-based Human Rights Observation Report, in the year 2015 there were 5 hate crime-murders, 32 hate crimes, 2 cyber-attacks and 3 suicides appeared in the press.

Source: Kaos GL, “2015’te LGBTİ’lere yönelik 32 nefret saldırısı basına yansıdı!” (“32 Hate Crimes Directed at LGBTI People Reflected in the Press in 2015”), kaosgl.org, May 25 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21730

The Kaos GL Association has published its 2015 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-based Human Rights Observation Report. The report, which the association has published regularly since 2006 to monitor the human rights violations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, contains striking conclusions about this past year.

5 hate crime-murders, 32 attacks!

General findings are listed in the introduction of the report as follows:

“2015 was a year in which bombs exploded, massacres occurred, systematic attacks were carried out against social groups at the government’s hand, surveillance and detentions were carried out, and the most basic right, the right to life, was not protected. From the perspective of LGBT rights, alongside positive developments it was a year in which generally the routine was not broken;

“Throughout the year of 2015, there were 5 hate crime murders, 32 hate crime attacks (with more than 15 committed by more than one person, 2 at the hands of the police, 12 with a sharp object, 2 with a firearm, and 1 with arson), 2 cyber-attacks, and 3 cases of suicide that were reported to the media;

3 instances of discrimination were reflected in the media. Of these instances, 2 occurred in prison and 1 occurred in the workplace. Out of 9 cases of hate speech, 4 were produced by political figures and 3 appeared in newspapers known to be close to the ruling government.”

Call for killing of LGBTI people

“The societal reflection of hate speech can be [a] hate crime. The attacks by police at the Pride March and ensuing instigation of hate at the hands of politicians turned into a call for murder. A group calling themselves the Young Islamic Defense hung posters on the streets of Ankara calling for the killing of LGBT people.”

Censorship for the internet

“Administrative measures were taken by Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı, or TIB) against 7 LGBT websites. Of these decisions, 1 was lifted by TIB after making its way into the press and another after being appealed to TİB. However, 5 sites still cannot be accessed. In 2 cases students were attacked because of LGBT banners and a rainbow flag at a university. Bafra Penitentiary denied prisoners access to Kaos GL publications on the grounds of its “obscene” content.”

“The police attacked the Pride March with plastic bullets, teargas, and water cannons; a number of people were injured.”

“The Constitutional Court identified the state’s official relationship format by using the expression ‘unnatural relation,’ in clear violation of the Constitution.”

The report only contains cases reflected in the media

While emphasizing that only cases reflected in the media were reported, problems experienced in the reporting process are outlined in the report as follows:

“The violations found in the report are cases reflected in the media only. For this reason this report does not display all of the human rights violations experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Turkey

“We have presented this report as the 2015 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-based Human Rights Violation Observation Report. However, our struggle continues in reaching the problems of gay and bisexual women and the discrimination and human rights violations suffered by transgender men.”

The report contains separate sections on ‘hate crimes and violations of the right to life,’ ‘discrimination and hate speech,’ ‘freedom of expression,’ and ‘lawsuits taking place and ending in 2015.’ Violations reflected in the media over the course of a year are listed.

What should be done?

The conclusion of the report lists the necessary steps for getting ahead of human rights violations as follows:

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals should be granted equal civil rights in the Constitution and “sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status”(CYCKİD) should be protected categories in the Constitution’s discrimination article
  • Adjustments should be made to the Turkey Human Rights and Equality Foundation Law to include protections for CYCKİD; the law should be rewritten to take into account Civil Society recommendations about the impartiality of the foundation
  • LGBTI people should be included in public social policy
  • Effective campaigns should be led against the homophobic and transphobic hate speech of politicians, public authorities, and opinion leaders
  • All relevant public institutions, especially the Directorate General of Migration Management, should develop sensitivity towards and policies related to the various problems of LGBTI refugees
  • The Turkey Human Rights and Equality Foundation and the Ombudsman Institution should handle all violations of human rights, democracy, and law that come under its jurisdiction with an approach based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Clauses on sexual orientation and gender identity should be added to articles regulating discrimination law in the judicial system
  • Regulation regarding hate crimes should be expanded to cover basic rights such as the right to life, bodily integrity, education, and shelter alongside hate speech, and clauses on CYCKİD should be included in hate crime regulation. The necessary punitive measures should be taken for hate crimes directed at LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) individuals; modifications in the law should be made to prevent reduced sentences for “grievous provocation” following hate crimes
  • Ambiguous phrases such as “general morality,” “public decency,” “obscenity,” “immodesty,” and “infamous crimes” used in the Turkish Republic Constitution, the Turkish Penal Code, Civil Code, Law of Misdemeanor and various other foundations and institutions should be taken out of regulation or readjusted in a way that cannot be interpreted as against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) people.
  • Turkey should immediately take all necessary legal and political steps to fully comply with the 2010 Combating Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Recommendations from the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, of which Turkey was a founding member
  • In the investigation and prosecution stages following rights violations such as hate crimes, discrimination, and police violence suffered by LGBTI people, precautions should be taken to eliminate the discriminatory and/or prejudiced attitudes of law enforcement officers and forensic units, which heighten the victims’ suffering
  • The classification of homosexuality and transsexualism in the Turkish Armed Forces Health Code as “sexual identity and behavior disorders” and practices suffered by homosexual, bisexual, or transgender individuals that damage their honor and dignity should be eliminated
  • The Turkish Armed Forces Discipline Code, which punishes homosexuality by stigmatizing it as an “unnatural relation” and leaves the homosexual officers in question to fall victim to discrimination in the workplace and lose their jobs, should change and homosexuality should no longer be considered a crime.
  • The government should regulate CYCKİD discrimination in work life. Regulations directed at LGBT workers should be made in job announcements, hiring, continued work relationships, and termination. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status should become protected categories under the discrimination article in the Labor Law
  • Societal and institutional educational programs to eliminate the rights violations experienced by LGBTI people in education, employment, and health in the public sector and private institutions, as well as in access to services, should be applied and followed as a positive obligation of the state.
  • On every subject relevant to human rights and especially when making changes related to the prevention of discrimination, opinions from the United Nations, Council of Europe, European Union, and related units should be taken into account. Human rights organization, organizations that work in the field of women’s human rights, and LGBTI organizations should work in collaboration to accomplish all of these endeavors.
  • Statistical studies to aid in bringing discrimination to light should be completed.
  • To ensure fair trials, human rights education based on homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination should be designed for law enforcement officers and members of the judicial branch. This education should be carried out in collaboration with civil society organizations.
  • Prison schemes should be designed with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity; an end should be put to isolation.
  • Pursuant to all of these endeavors, dialogue and collaboration should be established between LGBTI organizations and public establishments and Parliament.

Access report here [Turkish]

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