|KHRP Board of Patrons Member Barred from Turkey|
KHRP regrets that Jon Rud, a Norwegian human rights lawyer and member of the organisation’s Board of Patrons, was refused entry into Turkey on 7 November and told that he will never be allowed to visit.
Mr Rud is the former Chairman of the Norwegian Bar Human Rights Committee and of Amnesty International in Norway. He was named persona non grata by the Turkish Government nearly a decade ago following public comments which were interpreted as ‘hostile’. Prior to his latest trip, however, it was understood from communications with the Interior Ministry and Turkish diplomats that he would be allowed to visit. In the event, he was told at Istanbul airport that he would never be permitted entry and was put on the next plane returning to Europe. No reason was given for the decision.
Mr Rud was seeking to travel to Turkey at the invitation of the Working Group on Justice of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, of which he is also a member, to attend a seminar in Istanbul.
‘This episode once again illustrates the vast gap that exists between Turkey’s self-declared commitment to freedom of expression and democratic reforms in the context of EU accession, and the actual practices of the Turkish authorities on the ground,’ said Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director of KHRP. ‘Turkey should be living up to its rhetoric and actively encouraging human rights defenders like Mr Rud to participate in open public debate about ongoing abuses and deficiencies in the country’s human rights infrastructure, in order to pave the way for meaningful, lasting reforms.’