17/04/2020 | Writer: Yiğit E Korkmaz

5 women and LGBTI+ organizations announced the COVID-19 measures, which should be taken for LGBTI+ and women prisoners who may be released through the changes on to the Law on the Execution.

What are the measures that must be taken for women and LGBTI+ prisoners that will be released? Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Turkish Parliament has passed a bill that proposes changes to the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures. The bill foresees the release of many imprisoned individuals

Women's Solidarity Foundation, Human Rights Association, Lambdaistanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, Young LGBTI+ Association, and LİSTAG Association jointly issued a statement called for measures to be taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic for LGBTI+ and women prisoners who may be released through the changes to the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures.

It is reminded that the changes adopted by the Parliamentary Justice Commission on April 4th as part of the measures taken against the coronavirus, is clearly criticized by rights organizations, and it is reported that the conditions of women - LGBTI+ prisoners during and after the process of release should not be ignored.

The full statement of the demands of released women and LGBTI+ regarding the need for a safe house, and other physical and psychological needs is as follows:

"With speeding up the new correctional regulation as part of measures taken against the coronavirus, it was announced that the new regulation was adopted by the Parliamentary Justice Commission on April 4th. This regulation, which has been openly criticized by rights groups in relation to its scope, brought the unconditional release and probation for some criminal groups defined in the law forward. Thus, the release of many prisoners from criminal execution institutions has also come into the agenda. While we are monitoring this process carefully, we find it very important that preparation and post-release conditions should not be ignored for those who will be released.

"Women and LGBTI+ who were subjected to various forms of gender-based discrimination before the incarceration and were dragged into crime as a result of social inequality are also subjected to discrimination and poverty during their imprisonment. This situation continues as a cycle after their release. Taking into account the risk of these individuals being subjected to sexual and gender-based social violence, necessary measures should be taken and individuals should be informed by the related personnel of the correctional institutions in a timely manner about the mechanisms in which they can receive support.

"Prisoners with the limited right to information and communication should be informed of the virus outbreak and the methods that they will implement to protect themselves immediately after the release. Hygiene kit containing medical masks, disinfectants, etc. should be provided free of charge for prisoners whose health checks have been completed.

"There may not be a 'safe house' for women and LGBTI+ prisoners who mostly are subjected to rejection, judging or exclusion by their relatives. The housing needs of people who do not have a safe home should be met with the measures required by the pandemic process.

"Free transportation support should be provided for people who are released from the prisons far away from their residence address to reach their addresses safely after the release.

"While it is already very difficult for a person who is just released from prison to access employment in today's conditions, it is clear that it is impossible for them to access employment to make a living in conditions of unemployment and economic devastation due to pandemic. Emergency socio-economic support should be offered to newly released prisoners. Otherwise, the protection of the right to life will not be possible outside the penal institutions.

"Supplemental food support should be offered for pregnant and the ones with the responsibility of a child.

"People who have been released should be covered by General Health Insurance; birth control pills and the next day pills should be distributed free of charge; people in the process of gender reassignment should be provided with free access to the hormones.

"In addition to the fact that the psychological effects of the imprisonment will continue after the release, it should be noted that pandemic conditions will force people to be in another isolation. At this point, the psychosocial services of the prisons are responsible for directing evacuees to free psychological support. Psychosocial services should set up online counseling services for people in the probation process. Alternatives should be considered instead of regular signature-based probation obligations during this process.

"In order to monitor the access of evacuees to related support mechanisms, relevant posts on information portals such as social media applications and websites of institutions working in this field must be kept up-to-date.

"It is the obligation of the state mechanisms to implement all health measures required by the pandemic process to protect the living rights of prisoners who are excluded from the release practices that are carried out with the accepted correctional regulation."

Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz

Tags: human rights, women