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Documentary: Living like a tree

A Film and a Call for Protecting Human Rights Defenders against Judicial Harassment and Threats in Turkey


On 19 November 2009, in Izmir, a trial opened, with 22 trade UNIONists, from the public sector confederation KESK, accused of supporting a terrorist organisation R11; the trial was postponed, and the issue is still not resolved. During the same period, in Tuzla shipyards in the suburb of Istanbul, the leaders of the dockers’ trade UNION received death threats from a company manager, for defending workers who had been unlawfully sacked. 

Such pressures and judicial harassment are the daily lot of trade UNIONists and many human rights defenders in Turkey.

This situation is not new. The relatives of 34 victims of the tragedy on 1 May1977 during the workers’ day demonstration on Taksim Square in Istanbul, as well as those of the massacres of Karahmanmaras or Sivas, are still waiting for truth, justice and compensation. 

Several Turkish civil society organisations want an end to the impunity tolerated for past and present violations and denounce the fact that the famous “Ergenekon case” still does not include the abuses committed before the election of the AKP government.

Mr Erol Önderoglu, the editor of the information website based in Istanbul – one of the key Turkish independent media which covers, among other things, women and human rights issues – will UPDATE the situation of human rights defenders and journalists.

Other speakers will include:

  • Joël Decaillon, Deputy Secretary General of the European Trade UNION Confederation,
  • Guy Ryder, Secretary General of the International Trade UNION Confederation,
  • Renate Schroeder, European Federation of Journalists,
  • Shane Enright, Amnesty International UK,
  • Grégoire Théry, International Federation for Human Rights-FIDH
  • Pascale Boosten & Eric Juzen, Protection International, authors of the documentary.

The press conference will be held in English and French.

Amnesty International, The International Federation of Journalists, the European Trade UNION Confederation, the International Federation for Human Rights and Protection International are urgently calling the Turkish government and the European UNION to implement protection policies for human rights defenders, including journalists, trade UNIONists, LGBT activists, conscientious objectors, all individuals and organisations defending minority, religious or other human rights in Turkey.

Contact persons:


  • Protection International: Pascale Boosten (0479-677475)
  • ETUC: Patricia Grillo (0477- 770164)


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