Tuesday, March 17, 2009

World Water Forum opens with brutality and repression

A peaceful protest by Turkish civil society activists demanding an end to the corporate control of water was met with violence and repression by Turkish police this morning outside the World Water Forum in Istanbul. As representatives of a broad international coalition of water rights activists, the People’s Water Forum denounces this repression of civil society’s voice.

The forum refers to itself as an open and transparent process working for the right to water, but this repression reveals both the exclusive nature of the forum and a clear disregard for human rights.

At this moment, seventeen Turkish activists are in jail, having suffered brutality and abuse at the hands of the police. With respect for the sovereignty of the Turkish nation, we demand their unconditional release.

When questioned, Gerd Berkamp, Director of the World Water Council, refused to denounce the violence.

Just as the World Water Council is unaccountable to the overwhelming majority of people affected by the decisions made within its closed chambers, the arbitrary nature of this police violence demonstrates the brutality of the divide between those with access to social and political power and those without.

Contact: Anil Naidoo and Maude Barlow, +1 613 882 4405
Orsan Senalp, 05346040357

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