Amnesty has been closely following the case of three refugees in Turkey who are at risk of deportation. The three men have been denied access to counsel or to visits from their families under conditions that amount to incommunicado detention and are in violation of both Turkish and international human rights law. Amnesty issued an urgent action to its members world wide to take action.
The situation, however, has grown more serious and immediate action is needed.
Amnesty International has just learned that yesterday afternoon, Ali Fares, Mohammed Fares and Abdalsalam Sakal were taken to and are currently being held at the Foreigners Branch of the Ankara Security Directorate. We understand they are being asked to agree to ‘voluntary return’ to Syria by signing a form. To our knowledge, they have yet not signed these forms. Amnesty International is trying to ensure they have access to a lawyer as a matter of urgency. To date the three men have not had access to a lawyer.
We are very concerned that they will be forced to sign the ‘voluntary’ return forms under duress and subsequently returned to Syria, in violation of the principle of non-refoulement. and Turkey’s obligations under international law.
The principle of non-refoulement prohibits the transfer of anyone in any manner whatsoever to a place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations – as is the case for individuals from Syria. It has been codified in the Refugee Convention and numerous international human rights instruments binding on Turkey. A breach of this principle can occur in a variety of ways, including directly through forcible returns to the country of origin, or indirectly through denying access to territory or to a fair and satisfactory asylum procedure. It can also occur indirectly when pressure is exerted on refugees to return to a place where their lives or freedoms are at risk – this is known as constructive refoulement, and is prohibited under international law binding on Turkey.
How to take action:
Please write immediately (by fax and/or email) to the Minister of Interior, the Director of General Directorate of Migration Management, copying the Chair of the Human Rights Institution of Turkey, calling on them to release Ali Fares, Mohammed Fares and Abdalsalam Sakal and not to return them to Syria.
Minister of Interior
Mr Selami Altınok
Fax: +90 312 425 85 09
Salutation: Dear Minister
Directorate General of Migration Management
Mr Atilla Toros
Lalegül Çamlıca Mahallesi 122. Sokak No:2/3 06370,
Yenimahalle Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 422 09 00
+90 312 422 09 99
Salutation: Dear Director
And copies to:
Chair of the Human Rights Institution
Dr. Hikmet Tülen
Yüksel Caddesi No. 23, Kat 3, Yenişehir
06650 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 422 29 96