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Orhan Kemal Cengiz

Lawyer, Human Rights Defender and Newspaper Columnist


Mr. Cengiz, who received his law degree from the University of Ankara in Turkey in 1993, is president and founding member of the Human Rights Agenda Association; founding member and general secretary of the Civil Society Development Center; legal consultant for several projects and groups, and a private practice human rights lawyer. Fluent in Turkish and English, he is a columnist for the Turkish Daily News, an English-language newspaper.

He has 13 years of experience founding new and innovative civil society organizations that address critical needs in human rights in Turkey. He has ten years of experience working in human rights organizations on an international scale, including legal consulting work for the London-based Kurdish Human Rights Project (1999-2002), and more recently lecturing to lawyers abroad on taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights, and organizing exchanges between Turkish non-government organizations and NGOs in other Council of Europe member states.

His projects have a high success rate. One example is the Izmir Bar Association Committee for the Prevention of Torture, which prosecuted more than 1,000 cases of torture and involved more than 200 volunteer lawyers at its peak, before it was shut down by the Bar Association's new Board of Directors in 2005.

He has actively been involved in human rights issues by appearing at meetings and seminars in many other countries including Demark, Bosnia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and Albania. He is the author of many articles and has written several legal handbooks relating to human rights issues. In addition, he has translated several other works relating to human rights.

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