We denounce the violent crackdown on the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade!

The civil society and LGBTI rights movement in South Korea stand with the LGBTI rights movement in Turkey!

On June 28, when LGBTI pride parades were being held lavishly in places worldwide including Seoul to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, LGBTI people in Turkey were faced with brutal police violence. The government of Istanbul Province banned the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade, scheduled to take place on Taksim Square, only a few hours before without legitimate reasons, and the police violently dispersed the crowds that had gathered on Taksim Square to take part in the parade by using water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets. Many people were injured.

Citing that it was the Ramadan, the Turkish government prohibited an event that had been held peacefully over the past twelve years. However, a transgender people’s pride parade had been held only a few days before, still during the holy month. Several years earlier, the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade had been held during the Ramadan as well. The recent ban on the pride parade was nothing but a restriction on LGBTI people’s legitimate rights. The oppression of LGBTI people and violations of universal human rights in the name of “tradition” and “culture” are not condonable.

In recent years, Turkish society has been beset by hate crime against LGBTI people. Amidst such a situation, the government’s suppression of the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade amounts to the incitement of discrimination and violence against LGBTI people. The LGBTI rights movement and civil society in South Korea denounce in the strongest terms the anti-human rights and violent oppression committed by the Turkish authorities, which have thus trampled on democratic rights and incited violence against LGBTI people.

In addition, we are deeply concerned that tear gas produced in South Korea may have been used to suppress LGBTI people in Turkey. Despite criticism from the international community and opposition from domestic civil society, the South Korean government has continued to export tear gas to Turkey. Police violence in Turkey is infamous. Due to the abuse and overuse of tear gas by the Turkish police, nine participants in anti-government protests even lost their lives in 2013. The South Korean government must stop exporting weapons including tear gas, which can be used to suppress citizens’ freedom to express their political opinions, to violate human rights, and to injure and kill people.

LGBTI people and their supporters in Turkey did not succumb to police violence but resisted, staging the pride parade throughout the city well into the night. Shouts of “We are not leaving! Love wins!” echoed. We express our deep respect for and firm solidarity with the courageous resistance of LGBTI people in Turkey. We will form solidarity and fight until the day oppression of and violence against LGBTI people have completely disappeared and LGBTI citizens around the globe enjoy their rights as equal citizens.

July 2, 2015

Amnesty International Korea
Human Rights Center SARAM
Korean Confederation of Trade Union
Korean House for International Solidarity
Rainbow Action against Sexual-Minority Discrimination
SARANGBANG Group for Human Rights
Palestine Peace and Solidarity in South Korea
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
World Without War