Support the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
On 24 March, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) sent a letter to the President and the Government of Turkey, calling for support to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT).
The letter express concerns regarding a recent case brought against the HRFT, which could seriously undermine its capacity to provide treatment and rehabilitation services to torture survivors. The NHC argues that the case is unfounded and should be dropped.
The HRFT, an internationally recognized civil society organization has contributed to treatment and rehabilitation of torture survivors and the prevention of torture for 25 years in Turkey. It is a long-term partner of important Norwegian organisations, including the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. It now risks being sentenced to pay a substantial fine due to a case brought by the Social Security Institution (SSI).
According to information we have received from the HRFT, the SSI conducted an audit at the HRFT headquarter between 18 and 21 June 2013 with the aim of finding out whether one of the HRFT staff members, who are officially recorded as part-time, in reality works full-time. This happened at the same time as the Gezi Park protests were taking place, and the HRFT were providing medical support to many of the wounded protesters.
Despite evidence submitted by the HRFT, including insurance records, the work agreement and the record of the staff as part-time employee at another workplace in the SSI system, the auditor that HRFT had given false information.
Based on the auditor’s report, HRFT was obliged to pay a fine of 85 286 TL and a premium debt of 41 238 TL. The HRFT filed annulment cases against the SSI for the administrative fine and the debt, but they were all rejected. All efforts by HRFT to revoke the fine remain inconclusive until today. The case is still pending, and the HRFT might eventually be forced to pay the fine and the debt.