Black Balloon Protest

PRESS RELEASE

On Saturday, 4 November 2017, we, as the Turkish Americans, volunteers of Huddled
Masses nonprofit organizations, along with our dear American friends, are organizing black
balloon events in 15 different locations in USA and Canada to raise awareness on the
arbitrary detention and arrest of 668 jailed children under the age of six and 17,000 women
in Turkey.

In recent years, Turkey has experienced a sharp declining trend in almost all democratic
indicators, including the rights of women and children, civil, economic and social rights,
freedom of expression and media, free and fair elections, government accountability and
corruption. This crackdown has systematically increased after the failed coup attempt of
July 2016 with the increasing human rights violations in all spheres of life.

Besides all, there has been a very disturbing pattern of jailing infants and babies along with
their mothers in inadequate and unhealthy conditions. 668 children under age 6 are
imprisoned and denied their right to nutritious food and access to basic healthcare in
Turkey. Many infants died during pregnancy or the postpartum periods of mothers due to
persecutions and harsh conditions after the post- coup crackdown in Turkey. Thousands of
children will be left behind in access to quality education and life as a result of
discrimination, segregation, and violence against their parents and the community they
belong. The purge also causes hundreds of children living abroad to be born stateless as the
Turkish consulates do not provide them with passports or national IDs.

Today, we are gathered in 15 different locations through the USA and Canada to give away
black balloons to demand the freedom of innocent children jailed in Turkey. We would like
to highlight and raise awareness about the plight of thousands of children in Turkey and
abroad subject to discrimination on several grounds prohibited by the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We call on local and international media to continue raising awareness on the jailing of
children and mothers, who have become the victims of unlawfulness in Turkey, and
support our social media campaign on Twitter via @sethemfreetr account. We finally call
on civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders to address the human rights
violations against children and mothers in Turkey.

For more information, please contact: sethemfreetr@gmail.com
Set Them Free” is an online platform that is launched by several dialogue organizations
throughout the United States of America and Canada, which work in collaboration to
promote the rights of women and children. The mission of the platform is to raise
awareness on the 17,000 women and 668 babies, who are arbitrarily jailed in Turkey after
the failed coup attempt of July 2016. The platform serves as a venue to voice the stories of
the innocent women and babies in jail in Turkey, as well as the ones who are forced to live
in exile now.

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