Turkish parliament approves bill mandating formation of new human rights institution
The Turkish parliament approved a bill on Wednesday night paving the way for the formation of a new human rights institution in Turkey.
The Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey will be linked with Turkish Prime Ministry, but it will have administrative and financial autonomy, according to the bill.
The move is seen as an effort to protect human rights, ensure equality and fight torture and maltreatment in the country.
The institution will strive to prevent discrimination in Turkey. According to the bill, any discrimination based on gender, race, language, sect, philosophy and political views, birth, marital status, disability and age will be banned.
Segregation, orders for and implementation of discriminatory instructions, workplace intimidation and harassment have also been listed in the bill.
Also, state and private institutes will not be allowed to discriminate against citizens who use or apply for services such as education, justice, police, health, transportation, communication, social security, social services, social aid, sports, accommodation, culture, and tourism, according to the bill.
There are also provisions to protect women. Employers will not be allowed to reject job applications because of pregnancy, maternity leave or the need to care for children.
The new institution's decision body will fulfill its duties independently. It will be composed of 11 members, including a chairman and a deputy chairman, who will serve for four years. Eight members of the body will be selected by the Council of Ministers, while three others by Turkey's president. Annual reports from the body will be submitted to Turkey's Presidency, parliament and Prime Ministry, the bill says.
Turkey also has other human rights bodies, including the National Human Rights Institution of Turkey - which falls under the Prime Ministry - and several other non-governmental organisations.