Statement at UN Human Rights Council

High Commissioner    19th June 2018
I wish to address issues in two of the States named in your report – Turkey and the Russian Federation.

You mentioned the visit in 2016 to Turkey of the SR on Freedom of Expression. Sadly since that visit things have deteriorated, 15th May is internationally recognised as ”conscientious objectors day”. Around the world, events are held in honour of those who have refused, on grounds of conscience, to be recruited into the armed forces. Our Turkish associate VR-DER - Vicdani Ret Dernegi (Conscientious Objectors' Organisation) - held such an event in Diyakbakir in 2016. Within the last month, the co-Chair of the organisation has therefore been summoned to answer charges of “making propaganda for terror”.1 I remind you that non-violence is in fact the foundation stone of all the organisations in our network. You mentioned also the crackdown on dissenting voices in the Russian Federation. This impacts particularly on the Jehovah's Witnesses – known globally for their commitment to non-violence.2 That members of this faith should have been persecuted under anti.terrorism legislation is bizarre. I would go farther – it is obscene.

Human Rights Council, 38th Session Agenda Item 2 – General Debate Statement delivered by Derek Brett Contact: (Main representative in Geneva)