Orhan Kemal Cengiz is a Turkish human rights lawyer and columnist. He has 20 years of experience founding new and innovative civil society organizations that address critical needs in human rights in Turkey (the International Committee of the Izmir Bar Association, 1995; the Izmir Bar Association Center for Human Rights, 1996; the Izmir Bar Association Committee for the Prevention of Torture, 2002; Human Rights Agenda Association, 2003; Civil Society Development Center, 2004).
He has 15 years of experience working in human rights organizations on an international scale, including legal consulting work for the London-based Kurdish Human Rights Project (1997-2000), and lecturing to lawyers abroad on taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights, and organizing exchanges between Turkish NGOs and NGOs in other Council of Europe member states.
His projects have a high success rate—the Izmir Bar Association Committee for the Prevention of Torture prosecuted over 1000 cases of torture and involved over 200 volunteer lawyers at its peak, before it was shut down by the Bar’s new Board of Directors in 2005. He has also worked as an external evaluator of EU Commission-funded project proposals, and through his work as Legal Director at the Civil Society Development Center, which provides legal consultancy services to NGOs, has become an expert in the needs faced by a wide variety of Non-State Actors.