GuNAL – Parallel Council of Europe

Parallel Council of EuropeandldquoNils Muiznieks concerned about arrest of journalists in Turkey,andrdquo andldquoNils Muiznieks concerned with Turkeyand#39s andlsquochilling messageand#39 to journalists and dissenting voices,andrdquo andldquoMuiznieks declares: Arrest of journalists and media workers [Dec. 14] serious setback for media freedom in countryand#39,andrdquo andldquoMuiznieks warns security package may increase human rights violations in Turkey,andrdquo andldquoMuiznieks urges Turkey to reconsider security billandrdquo and so on.

These are some of the headlines that Iand#39ve collected from the press during the last two months in Turkey about Nils Muiznieks.Who is Nils Muiznieks? Can he be an outside enemy of Turkey? Does he want to divide or weaken Turkey? Or is he involved in the Hizmet movement and so was supported into a higher position in the bureaucracy, hiding his true identity.

Is he part of the parallel structure that has a branch in the Council of Europeand#39s human rights bodies? To borrow a joke about supporters of the Hizmet movement commonly made by members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has he ever eaten maklube, a traditional dish attributed to Hizmet that is often served during movement meetings?Muiznieks is a Latvian human rights activist and political scientist. He has a Ph.

D from the University of California at Berkeley. Previously, he was the director of the Latvian Human Rights Center He has been serving as the Council of Europe (CoE)ommissioner for human rights since 2012.

He has visited Turkey several times in his role as the commissioner He has reported on excessive force by the police, criticized the policeand#39s handling of demonstrations for creating serious human rights problems, said Turkish police violence must not go unpunished, and expressed his concerns about the arrest of journalists in Turkey. Recently, he warned that a government-sponsored security package was scheduled to be discussed in Parliament last week runs the risk of increasing human rights violations in Turkey and has urged Parliament to reconsider the proposal in light of comparable international standards.

Muiznieks is doing his job. He is not only doing his job for Turkey, but also for all CoE countries as well.

He calls on Azerbaijan to stop reprisals against human rights defenders, he calls on Armenia to intensify its efforts to ensure gender equality and protect human rights in the justice system, he condemns serious human rights violations in Crimea, he declares that the conflict in Eastern Ukraine has a dire impact on human rights, he warns Spain that legislation and practice on immigration and asylum must adhere to human rights standards, he declares that Franceand#39s persistent discrimination endangers human rights, he says that a andldquoresetandrdquo is needed in Europeand#39s approach to Syrian refugees, he calls on all CoE countries to create inclusive policies for Roma, he invites countries to concentrate more on childrenand#39s rights and he calls on European governments to make gender equality and the fulfillment of womenand#39s rights a reality. In my opinion, he is one of the treasures of the CoE and one of the best human rights heroes Iand#39ve seen in recent years.

What he is saying on Turkey must be seriously taken into consideration. He is definitely neither an enemy of Turkey nor any other country.

I donand#39t think he is part of the parallel structure in Turkey as AKP members constantly label their critics, but letand#39s assume for a minute that he is. Why then do we not look at what he is saying?Muiznieks says, andldquoI urge the authorities to stop the crackdown on press freedom and to act in compliance with the rule of law and human rights.

andrdquo.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman