The Nirengi Association has drawn attention to the participation of children on the occasion of National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on 23 April.

101 years ago the great leader Mustafa Kemal Atatুrk gifted children April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day We celebrate with great pride and joy. The Turkish Grand National Assembly, marking a turning point in the liberation struggle of the Republic of Turkey, is celebrating its 102nd anniversary.

The Nirengi Association has produced an important study explaining the importance of children’s right to participate in the occasion of National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on 23 April. Association lawyer Arsal Caracas shared his views on children’s participation rights.

Atti mentions the importance of National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Arsal Caracas; “In honor of the opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on April 23, 1920, it is a Turkish national holiday, celebrated every year on April 23, and delegates from the Grand National Assembly of Turkey present it to children all over the world.” Underlining what will develop, Atatুrk outlines his views on the right of children to participate, which is being emphasized today in the democratic Republic of Turkey, which was established a hundred years ago. Has started to be visible, he said

What is the right of children to participate?

Hunting. Arsal Caracas stressed that before discussing in detail the right of children to participate, it is important to underline the definition of a child between the international convention and the framework of Turkish law: According to Turkish law, every person, except adults, is a child up to the age of 18 (until they have completed it). Until the 1980s, the notion that children could have a voice / participation in defining these roles was not widely accepted. For the first time, Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states: He has the power to form opinions in order to express his views These views are given due consideration according to the level of maturity. ” Explicitly stated.

Based on this article; The right of children to express their views directly or indirectly in the decision-making processes of their concerns is called the right of children to participate. Used phrases.

Does it include children’s right to participate?

Hunting. Arsal Karakaş “The scope of children’s right to participate in the decision-making process is quite wide. For example; Being able to choose courses offered to them during their school years that suit their interests, being informed / deciding on the treatment and intervention to be applied to their own body, getting involved in the legislation process for children, etc. It can be seen that many rules and processes of the society are directly or indirectly related to children and excluding children from this process would be a violation of democracy and human rights.

Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also emphasizes the importance of listening directly to children in the process of participation in the judiciary. In judicial or administrative investigations, children may be included in the system as victims of crime or as juveniles. According to TUIK data; In 2020, the number of incidents involving children coming or being brought to the safety unit was 450,803. In these cases, it was found that 37.9% of children were included in the system as victims and 25.3% of them did a job defined as a crime in law (driving crime).

Children involved in the judiciary have the right to actively participate in any decision they make. In the judiciary, it is essential to inform children about the process, their statements are taken in the presence of experts and their rights under the law are communicated to each other at each stage. It can be said that a good example of children’s participation in the justice system is the Child Monitoring Center (ÇİM). Statements of abused children are taken at a place called ÇİM. Here, the child is prevented from attending institutions such as police stations or courts by speaking in the presence of experts. In practice, these centers are usually used for sexually abused children, but there are no restrictions on the type of abuse in legal regulations. In accordance with legal regulations; Regardless of physical, sexual, emotional or economic status, there is no barrier to accepting the statement of every child who has been abused. Says

What do the data say about the right of children to participate in Turkey?

Hunting. Caracas also noted that it is difficult to find data on children’s participation rights in Turkey, adding: “It is difficult to find data based on detailed research on children’s rights to participate, which is a relatively new concept. The best example of data based on a very extensive study in the literature is the work of Oguz Polat and Tanzer Gezer to realize the social inclusion of children and their right to participate. The study was based on a 2007 interview with a total of 10,000 children aged 7-18 in 10 provinces of Turkey. According to the interview; The participation rate of girls speaking on issues affecting their lives at home was 9.7%, while the rate of speaking on issues affecting their lives at school dropped to 8.9%. The participation rate of boys in the decision to influence them at home was 13.5%, while in school this rate decreased to 12.3%. 36.6% of all children agree with the statement that they have the right to speak on any platform that affects their lives.

In the light of this information, it is possible to reach two conclusions. First, the participation of both boys and girls in the decision-making process in education is significantly less than their participation in family life. Children can work as directed by adults in their education. Second, the participation rate of girls in decision making process in family and education is significantly lower than that of boys. This is the most obvious indicator of gender inequality. Girls cannot play an active role in family or education in the decision making process about themselves. Girls are forced to follow stricter rules than boys. ”

What are some examples of good practice regarding the right of children to participate in Turkey?

Hunting. Arsal Karakaş “In 2013, with the support of UNICEF, provincial child rights committees were established in 81 provinces under the Ministry of Family and Social Policy. These committees aim to represent children of all ages and levels of life. At the same time, the ministry, which had organized a workshop with the children of the provincial committee on the occasion of the study of the new constitution, presented the report of the workshop to the parliament.

Another prominent example is; This is seen in the Association Act, which came into force in 2004. According to Article 3 of the Act, minors who have reached the age of fifteen and have the power to differentiate; The right to establish or become a member of a children’s association with the written permission of their legal representatives to protect and develop their social, spiritual, moral, physical and mental abilities, sports, education and training rights, social and cultural rights. Wealth, family structure and personal life.

In addition, it has been stated that children under the age of twelve may also become members of the Children’s Association with the permission of their legal representatives, but may not participate in supervisory and management bodies. Thus, children’s participation in the search for rights, advocacy and participation in the decision-making process through civil society was supported.

In addition to these examples, there are regulations that support the active participation of children in decision-making processes through legislation. However, in practice these regulations need to pave the way for more effective access. “

Finally, referring to what can be done within the scope of the child’s right to participate, Att. Arsal Caracas said, “First of all, children should be given a basic education in terms of awareness of personality and freedom of expression.

Children need to know that they are individuals within the system and in many cases have their say and rights, especially in matters of concern to them. The children we mentioned have grown up with the awareness of having rights and words; It is also known that the rate of saying no to abuse, reporting that it is a crime when exposed to abuse, and the rate of dealing with trauma are high.

However, good examples like the Provincial Child Rights Committee and the Children’s Association that we have given above need to be supported in practice and made more effective. Also;

  • Allowing children to choose courses that interest them in education,

  • To inform / give them the opportunity to make decisions about the medical interventions and interventions applied to them in the field of health according to the age of the children.

  • If children are involved in the media, respect their privacy in relation to the reasons for their participation, especially respecting the right of child victims to forget,

  • Discourage children from working in jobs that are not suitable for their age and development, do not force children to work,

  • He said the concepts could be applied to support the right of children to participate as individuals and to raise awareness about society and family through adult education and similar basic activities.

The Nirengi Association is a non-governmental organization that conducts projects on psychosocial support, humanitarian assistance-disaster and emergency management and development, direct assistance to at-risk groups, advocacy and networking, policy making, social dialogue and development, and capacity building. And research.

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