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Some Human Rights Organizations not Invited to Refugee Seminar

A seminar titled as “Administration and Management of Reception Centers” has been organized by UNHCR Representation in Turkey and Police Department – Foreigners Migration Office between 23 and 26 December 2008 in Izmir through the Global Opportunities Fund for Migration of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Representatives of several local level offices of the ministries as Task Force members and representatives of non-governmental organizations were invited to participate in this seminar. It has been informed that the aim of this seminar was to discuss the issue in broad sense, and to evaluate the conditions of accommodation and reception with related standards, structures and services in a forum environment.

As the signatories of this letter, which are rights organizations based in Turkey, we learnt and experienced that some of these organizations were invited to this seminar, whereas others were not. Especially, it has been noticed that a serious absence occurs when the intensive and remarkable work of these organizations and the capacity they have created in the field of refugees and asylum-seekers are considered.

With this formulation, the situation seems to be that the organizations invited and not invited to the seminar were subjected to an accreditation process. Any approach to create such an understanding is unacceptable in our view.

Therefore, we do not preserve any of our optimism that the current seminar and following meetings will create a useful discussion forum for discussing the problems in the field and for establishing standards in the field. The only way to make this happen is to invite all of the organizations working in the field and creating a capacity in the field to this meeting and other similar meetings in a non-discriminatory process. We only believe that these kinds of non-discriminatory invitations will create free and real productive forums to reach the mentioned goals of the meetings. This is our sincere desire.

With all respect,

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (hYd)
Human Rights Association (İHD)
Human Rights Research Association (İHAD)
Human Rights Agenda Association (İHGD)
Organization of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People  (MAZLUMDER)
Association for Solidarity with Refugees (Mülteci-Der)
Human Rights Foundation Turkey (TİHV)
Amnesty International Turkey (UAÖ-Türkiye)
Van Women Association (VAKAD)

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