March 25, 2011
LANSING, Mich. — The Lansing based law firm Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC will be hosting a panel discussion on criminal procedure in their CLE Room on Monday, March 28, 2011 at noon. Participating in the discussion will be attorneys Murat Cicek and Mahmut Guven who are visiting from Turkey as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program. The overall purpose of their visit to the U.S. is to learn how Americans address human rights issues both within and outside the court system. Visitors are welcome, although space is limited. For more information, contact Angie Davarn at 517-371-8116.
Cicek promotes the protection of human rights in Batman, a city in southeastern Turkey where there is great religious, linguistic and ethnic diversity. He works to protect women’s rights and to raise awareness about honor killings and suicides. Cicek has headed the Batman Chapter of Mazlum-der, a human rights advocacy organization, for three years.
Guven is an active defender of human rights in the city of Mardin, in southeastern Turkey. He has been a champion of the rights of Kurdish people forcibly evacuated from their villages during civil unrest in the 1990s. Guven served as president of the Mardin Bar Association for four years, taking on a significant number of human rights cases pro bono. He travels to defend human rights cases regionally, and is an active member of local civil society, involved in the Red Crescent, the Prison Watch Council, and the Midyat Human Rights Council.
Colleen Pero, Co-Chair of the Michigan Council on Citizen Diplomacy, Lansing, MI is facilitating the program. She recently received the National Council for International Visitors’ (NCIV) Excellence in Programming Award in the Community Organization (CIV) All Volunteer Organization category at the NCIV National Meeting’s Citizen Diplomacy Luncheon in Washington, DC on February 19. The award is presented annually to exemplary members of the network, selected by their peers, to recognize outstanding achievers within the NCIV network who have given tirelessly of their energies and creativity to the success of the International Visitor Leadership Program and to promote international education and exchange.
Like many countries with members of ethnic and religious minority groups among their populations, Turkey has had to deal with issues relating to minority civil and human rights. These issues are often debated and litigated in the country’s courts. This project will bring to the U.S. two Turkish attorneys, each of them defenders of human rights. They will have opportunities to learn about the ways in which Americans address human rights issues, as well as the workings of U.S. legal and judicial systems.