Transgender Europa (TGEU) condemns the murder of activist and transwoman Hande Kader

Posted on December 19, 2016 by Ellen Defrancq
Transgender activist Hande Kader

On August 12th, the lifeless body of Hande Kader was discovered in Istanbul. Hande Kader was raped, tortured, and following these atrocities, her body was burned. Before her corpse was found, she had been missing for a week. At the time of her violent death, the well-known LGBTI activist was only 23 years old!

Hande Kader was well-known to the public through her commitment to LGBTI rights and her protest against police violence during the Pride Parade in Istanbul (photo). Back then, the Istanbul Pride Parade was dispersed by force, with the police firing rubber pellets, water jets, and pepper spray onto participants. Kader was a sex worker, and there were reports that she was last seen with a potential customer.

In Turkey, violence against women is consistently trivialized. Consequently, this murder of Hande Kader was also virtually kept secret by the media.

Commentary by Transgender Europe

“Hande Kader is another victim of lethal hatred against women and everything female… We stand in solidarity with female trans sex workers in Turkey and throughout the world who, like Hande, must deal with unsafe work conditions and have to fear the police instead of being protected by them”, commented Arja Voipio, co-chair of Transgender Europe (TGEU).

Turkey has the highest rate of reported murders of transgender individuals in Europe, and legislators and policy makers fail miserably in any attempts to change this statistic. Transgender Europe calls on the Turkish authorities to protect the rights of transsexuals, female sex workers, and other fringe groups in Turkey.

TGEU Executive Director Julia Ehrt said: “We are deeply concerned about the repeated failure of the Turkish government to protect the safety of transgender individuals who live in the country. We demand that the murder of Hande Kader is thoroughly investigated and that the authorities start working on the legal and social reforms that will prevent any such murders in the future.”

Demands for Turkey

The publication of the “Transrespect versus Transphobia” project, releasd in 2015, included a chapter about Turkey. This chapter contained a list of demands for Turkish legislators and policy makers. This publication contains demands for laws against discrimination and hate crimes, the recognition of gender identity and sexual expression as reason for special protection, an official data collection of transphobic hate crimes, and the eduction and training of police, prosecutors, and judges regarding the human rights of transgender individuals.

Additionally, the existing laws regarding violence against women and domestic violence must be overhauled. Sexual identity and gender expression should be reason for special protection and must be incorporated into existing laws. Any and all caprice, abuse, and torture by police against female trans sex workers must be pursued and settled via appropriate law enforcement procedures.

While Transgender Europe (TGEU) calls on the Turkish authorities to protect the rights of transgender individuals, the Council of Europe is also called upon to closely monitor the situation in the country.

Danielle Lang

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