The closing conference of the European Union - Council of Europe Joint Project “Strengthening the Capacity of Bar Associations and Lawyers on European Human Rights Standards” was organised on 23 June 2022 in Istanbul.
The topic of the conference was Freedom of Expression: Transformation and Continuity. Representatives of the Council of Europe, the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, Delegation of the European Union to Turkey, CFCU and Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Directorate of EU Affairs attended the event together with representatives of pilot bar associations and more than 120 lawyers from bar associations of different cities in Turkey including trainer lawyers. The event was opened with addresses by Lilja Gretarsdottir, Head of the Cooperation Programmes Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law, Council of Europe, Eleftheria Pertzinidou, Deputy Head of Delegation of EU to Turkey and R. Erinç Sağkan, President of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations.
An introductory video, produced to convey the main achievements of the Project and feedback of the project partners and end beneficiaries was shown during the conference. Click here to watch the video.
Following the overview of the Project, the Project’s training activities, events and lessons learned were discussed. Separate sessions were conducted, focusing on freedom of expression with an emphasis on judicial approaches of the ECtHR and the Constitutional Court of Türkiye, actors in freedom of expression violations including legislature, judiciary and the role of international non-governmental organisations, and different forms of expressions and the current situation. The agenda of the conference can be reached through this link.
The conference ended with the closing speeches of Lilja Gretarsdottir, Head of the Cooperation Programmes Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law, Council of Europe; Cristian Urse, Head of Council of Europe Ankara Programme Office and Sibel Suiçmez, Vice president of Union of Turkish Bar Associations.
The Joint Project on “Strengthening the Capacity of Bar Associations and Lawyers on European Human Rights Standards (SCoBAL)” is implemented by the Council of Europe, and co-funded by the European Union, the Republic of Türkiye and the Council of Europe. The Union of Turkish Bar Associations is the end beneficiary of the Project. The Central Finance and Contracting Unit is the contracting authority.