UN human rights chief urges Turkey to end state of emergency

The United Nations' top human rights official is calling on Turkey's government to lift the country's state of emergency immediately, arguing that harsh penalties for dissent are hard to reconcile with "credible elections."

Turkey is holding elections in June. A state of emergency declared after a failed coup attempt in July 2016 is still in place.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said in a statement Wednesday that "the space for dissent in Turkey has shrunk considerably" over the past two years. He pointed to the jailing of journalists and arrests during May Day protests.

Zeid said: "It is difficult to imagine how credible elections can be held in an environment where dissenting views and challenges to the ruling party are penalized so severely."