Human Rights Association published its report, “Rubble Clearing Work: Report on the Legality of Measures Taken and Administrative Fines to Combat Covid-19” with the support of Etkiniz.
Below you can read the executive summary of the report, originally published in Turkish:
The report covers the outcomes of the monitoring work undertaken by the İnsan Hakları Derneği (İHD) [Human Rights Association].
The aim of the monitoring work undertaken is to scrutinise the legality of measures to combat Covid-19 and to contribute to the prevention of arbitrary limitations to fundamental rights and freedoms.
The method used for the study is a desk review and an investigation of administrative fines. To this end, the administrative fines imposed on individuals under the measures were examined based on 551 local and national news reports and statements from the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the governorates and security directorates of 81 provinces.
The human rights documents that form the basis of the monitoring work carried out by İHD are as follows: European Convention on Human Rights, UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, Law 2935 on State of Emergency, the Venice Commission Opinion on the Legal Framework Governing Curfews.
The findings and data obtained as a result of the study are as follows:
- Controls related to Covid-19 measures were included in the “Turkey Trust Peace” public order implementation carried out periodically by the General Directorate of Security, the General Command of the Gendarmerie and Coast Guard Command from April 17th 2020 onwards. In the five cases of the implementation realised between April 17th 2020 and May 21st 2020, a total of 27,462 people who did not abide by social distancing rules or were of the under-20 or over-65 age group who were under curfew were subjected to judicial or administrative procedures.
- When the number of administrative and judicial procedures carried out under “Turkey Trust Peace” public order implementation is deducted from the total number released by the Ministry of Interior Affairs, it is found that 261,963 people were subjected to procedures as part of regular controls.
- Turkey’s combat against Covid-19 rests on a series of measures which rely on state of emergency measures and limit fundamental rights. By not openly labelling the period between March 15th 2020 and June 1st 2020 as a state of emergency period, the government has tried to avoid its obligations and checks. Measures such as the ban on travel, the ban on public gatherings and demonstration and the curfew, which may only be imposed within legal limitations in periods of state of emergency were imposed under the name of combating Covid-19 and those not abiding by the rules were made to face hefty administrative fines.
- The report explains that the measures that come into force for violations of the said measures, which are not based on any law and were mainly put in place through Presidential decrees and ministerial circulars are arbitrary and in violation of the principle of legality. Therefore, the report suggests cancelling the administrative fines imposed within the framework of the Law on Misdemeanours and the Law on Public Health during the process of combating Covid-19. The report also underlines that the measures should be brought in to prevent arbitrary implementation by decision makers and those who implement the decisions for each period, and not just the Covid-19 period.