Hilal Chelik, chief lawyer at the Ankara Bar Association’s Child Rights Center, said there was no comprehensive state policy for children’s rights, adding that “the healthiest policy to prevent child rights violations is through counseling services; child counseling and family counseling – in this sense, the Ministry of Family and Social Policy.” This is very important in the Ministry of National Education, “he said.
Today, April 23, is National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Children are abused economically, mentally and physically. The problems of child labor, child marriage, child abuse and sexual abuse are still unresolved in Turkey.
According to the Turkish Institute of Statistics (TUIK), the number of child laborers aged 0-17 years increased to 521,000 in 2021. According to the Occupational Health and Safety (ISIG) Assembly, 62 child laborers lost their lives in occupational killings in 2021.
According to TUIK, the number of children assisted by their families without protection was announced as 137,863.
At least 65 children were abused in the three months to 2022, according to the Independent Communication Network (BNET) Mail Violence Scoreboard; Also 18 children were killed.
As of March 31, 2022, according to current statistics from the Ministry of Justice, 670 juveniles have been convicted and 1,406 children have been arrested. There are a total of 2,076 children in prisons.
In TURKSTAT’s 2020 report, the rate of children in severe deprivation was found to be 34 percent. The number of children under the age of 18 living in extreme poverty in the country was estimated at 6 lakh 500 thousand.
According to the latest TÜİK report, the marriage rate among girls aged 16-17 fell to 2.3 percent in 2021, according to official statistics. In 2002, the rate was 7.3. The marriage rate for boys has also come down from 0.5 in 2002 to 0.1 in 2021.
Hilal Chelik, chief lawyer for the Ankara Bar Association’s Center for the Rights of the Child, ANKA News He has assessed the rights and violations of children’s rights in Turkey. Celik says:
“Violation of children’s rights is a social problem”
“We cannot say that the current situation in the country has a comprehensive policy on children’s rights. However, this is not an area where we can only discuss state policy. It is a completely social problem; it has social, psychological and educational problems. Every part of the society has to play its role in eliminating the violation of rights. Let’s find a way.
“Child laborers work in situations that violate human dignity”
On the issue of child labor, children are employed in harsh conditions which are contrary to human dignity. For example, children begging on the streets work. Both of these children are at greater health risk, the risk of sexual abuse is much higher than that of other children, and violations of the right to education are already evident. Our country has a seasonal agricultural migration problem, so child laborers are employed here. Violations of their educational rights are not uncommon.
“There is a level of child prohibition, child pornography”
We always look at sexual harassment from a level as far as it is reflected in the public; We respond to incest or abuse. The levels of child prostitution, child pornography and abuse include sexual harassment and we can say that there is an acute risk of sexual abuse in the part that is not reflected in the media.
“Refugee children are also abused in child marriage”
The risk of child marriage still remains. Child marriage is also a serious problem for asylum seekers under temporary protection status, as we have seen massive immigration in the last 10 years. In addition to the problem of child marriage among refugee children, there is also the problem of domestic violence and child labor.
“Poverty can drive children to crime”
Poverty can also be a cause of child crime; This does not mean that poor children will run into crime, but it is a risk. We are always sensitive to children who are victims of crime, but when we look at the profiles of children who are involved in crime, they are actually a group that needs protection and we can tell child victims. The crimes that these children intensively commit are crimes against property, such as theft and looting. This shows the lack. Poverty means violation of the right to education and health. When you consider all of them, the situation of violation increases rapidly.
“It’s not a healthy thing to rehabilitate children after they’ve run away and pushed them into crime.”
Especially if there is a crime due to child deprivation, theft, looting or drug abuse, you can see that it continues as a vicious cycle and children enter into recurring guilt. It cannot be said that an effective study has been conducted to ensure that children are followed in a healthy way during the probationary period or after their release and are reintegrated into society. Not every prison has a training room, which is a violation of rights. Detention is a precautionary measure, when detainees are subject to a sentence reserved for children under the closed sentence system, then convicted children whose crimes are determined by the court are executed in the classroom. At the moment, when we evaluate the presumption of innocence, a child who has not been found guilty is given a closed death sentence, and if the right to formal education is not excluded in the unit called criminal juvenile education house, then he is in a home. Where he can continue his education and learn a profession and art. At the moment, I can say that there are violations of the rights of detained children.
“I have a research problem with early marriage.”
There is a problem in doing research on child marriage. Official figures announced by the state are published only through family applications.
“Every child needs a plan to be considered as a case.”
The state should conduct a comprehensive survey to address child rights violations. For each child violation, there is another dimension. There is also a dimension that does not concern children, but concerns society; There may be economic-based problems, domestic violence and education-related problems. If a child is involved in a crime, on what basis do these children commit a crime; Psychological and sociological research should be done to determine this. What can be done to reintegrate children into society with the healthy information at hand should be put into practice and put into practice. The important thing is to strengthen crime prevention activities and reintegrate the children who have been pushed towards crime into the society. Every child should be seen as a case and a plan should be made for his needs to reintegrate him into the society.
“International policy says prevent crime before it happens”
International conventions say that you will not only act after the crime has taken place, you will also rehabilitate the victim, but you will work to prevent it before the crime has taken place. The important thing is to prevent crime from happening. The state trains families, children, health and education workers, but it is not enough to determine why this policy does not work.
“Counseling services important in prevention policy”
Health care policy to prevent child rights violations is counseling services; Child counseling, family counseling. In this sense, the recruitment of qualified and adequate staff is crucial in both the Ministry of Family and Social Policy and the Ministry of National Education.
“All we have to do is celebrate the children’s holiday in the best way possible.”
We have problems, but the kids have only one vacation. Child psychology is very different, in that poverty and deprivation children find something to be happy about. Adults should try their best to celebrate the children’s holiday in the best way possible. The more children we reach, the happier the children will be. Let’s celebrate, but at the same time constructively criticize. Because in the end the best interests of the child and the happiness of the children are in question.