PRESS RELEASE: Turkey – IHRC publishes its submission to CEDAW on women and the headscarf ban.

Islamic Human Rights Commission

Embargoed until 00:01
27 October 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Turkey – IHRC publishes its submission to CEDAW on women and the headscarf ban.

In its latest report the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) examines the plight of Turkish women due to the ongoing headscarf ban, with reference to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Since 1997 a ban on wearing the headscarf at university has persisted, meaning that thousands of women have been denied their right to education.  The knock on effect for women in Turkey over a decade later is serious.  Not only have women been denied educational rights, their ability to participate in the work sector is affected.  Further official and unofficial bans operate in other spheres of Turkish life, with women working in government institutions suffering similar problems.

This report documents not only such acts, but the cases where women wearing headscarves have even been denied medical treatment.

The report’s author Seyfeddin Kara says:

“Turkey’s recent government has made huge progress in tackling the legacy of dire human rights abuses.  It has started the democratic initiative to address the massive injustices faced by the Kurdish communities in Turkey.  It has outlawed torture and amended the penal code to adopt more rigorous action against perpetrators of sexual offences against women.  It’s time they tackled the discrimination faced by headscarfed women.”

An embargoed  copy of the report is available in soft copy (PDF) from Thursday 23 October.  Please contact Dawud Kapansa or Seyfeddin Kara on (+44) 20 8904 4222, email:

For interviews in English and Turkish, please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or  (+44) 7891770619[ENDS].


The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183