Human Rights Lawyer in Turkey
A human rights lawyer can be defined as a lawyer who supports the legal battle of victims whose fundamental rights, guaranteed by the Constitution, have been violated by governments, administrative agencies, or public officials.
As lawyers at BAL Law Firm, we contribute to the legal fight of our clients whose claims for seeking justice have been denied or whose rights have been violated by courts or public institutions.
I. What are Human Rights?
Human rights can be defined as the inalienable and non-transferable rights of individuals simply by virtue of their being human. This definition of human rights encompasses a broad expression.
In technical terms, human rights refer to the common fundamental rights stated in the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. These fundamental rights can also be partially enjoyed by legal persons.
II. What Does a Human Rights Lawyer Do?
A human rights lawyer provides legal services to individuals whose rights have been violated in accordance with the fundamental rights and interventions specified in the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
In fact, every lawyer carries out activities to assert their clients’ rights. However, what distinguishes a human rights lawyer from other lawyers is the nature of the party causing the violation. This party is the state, which includes public institutions and officials, courts, and government agencies in general.
The duty to protect human rights guaranteed by the Constitution belongs to the state. Individuals can request independent and impartial courts against interventions to their granted rights. However, what happens when the institutions or courts responsible for protecting fundamental rights themselves violate these rights?
A human rights lawyer carries out national or international advocacy and follow-up activities for individuals whose rights and freedoms have been violated. The national institution for seeking human rights, known as the Constitutional Court, is the recourse against state interventions. A human rights lawyer will initiate the “Individual Application to the Constitutional Court” process to remedy the damages suffered by individuals whose fundamental rights have been violated.
If a result cannot be obtained from the Individual Application to the Constitutional Court process, the fight for rights will continue on an international level. At this point, a human rights lawyer can make an “Application to the European Court of Human Rights.”
III. In Which Area of Law Does a Human Rights Lawyer Work?
Human rights encompass the most fundamental rights, and all areas of law that touch upon these rights fall within the scope of a human rights lawyer’s work. It would not be accurate to limit the working area of a human rights lawyer to specific fields of law such as private law, civil law, public law, or criminal law.
A human rights lawyer will identify violations of rights by taking an overarching perspective of all legal fields. Therefore, a lawyer who specializes in criminal law, for example, will turn to human rights law if they cannot achieve results in their legal battle based on wrongful detention or wrongful arrest.
To give another example, in a case where one party brings all their bank records to the file, despite there being no need for the court to do so, a lawyer working in the field of debt or bankruptcy law may identify a violation of rights and take up the role of a human rights lawyer due to the court’s intervention.
Human rights lawyers are undoubtedly, and unfortunately, very familiar with the right to life, the prohibition of torture, the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of association, freedom of expression, the rights of migrants and refugees, the right to privacy, and the right to property. Unfortunately, the reason we say “unfortunately” is that violations of these rights are often committed by the very institutions and organizations responsible for protecting them.
IV. What to Consider When Choosing a Human Rights Lawyer?
Actually, the answer to this question is directly proportional to the qualities that a human rights lawyer should possess.
As with any lawyer, a human rights lawyer is expected to have good communication skills, be clear and understandable when speaking and writing, be trustworthy, experienced, and knowledgeable.
However, in addition to these qualities, a human rights lawyer also has developed sensitivity and determination. They act with an awareness of the responsibility on their shoulders. Once they agree to provide legal services to their client, they will find themselves in the midst of a battle that could last for years. Indeed, the mission assigned to them is like fighting a seven-headed dragon.
It is a requirement of the field that a human rights lawyer has experience in this area and keeps up-to-date with current decisions from the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court. We believe that it is also important for a human rights lawyer to have a good command of the English language for accessing resources.
A human rights lawyer must be able to make accurate assessments from the hundreds or even thousands of pages of files that could result from a violation of rights. Additionally, they can plan strategically and calculate the end result of their work in advance. They will also be able to demonstrate when necessary that the root cause of a violation of rights is the law itself.
It is not wrong to say that lawyers working in the field of human rights have high career aspirations. The following words of Lawyer Cengiz Ilhan reflect the inner world of a human rights lawyer: “The truth is this: behind every rejected request, every case, every defense, there is an idea, a human being, and that person is the lawyer himself. Even if a lawyer can maintain their personality and self-confidence despite these rejections, it is quite difficult. They will eventually learn to endure and “live together” with rejection.”
Are you looking for a lawyer who specializes in Human Rights Law?
As BAL Law Firm, we provide legal support to our clients who have suffered human rights violations due to interventions against human rights, and we carry out their rights struggles together.