The Rights Of The Child In Turkey

Safeguarding and increasing the wellbeing of the children is one of humanity’s most profound responsibilities.

With this understanding, Turkey endeavors to do her utmost to continue to promote the rights of children and to improve their living conditions.

In accordance with the objectives of the 1990 World Summit for Children, important steps have been taken in Turkey to ensure alignment with the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, global compliance with principles which remain vital for bettering the living conditions of the children all around the world.

Turkey signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on September 14, 1990 and ratified it on December 9, 1994.

In addition to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Turkey signed the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts on 8 September 2000. The Optional Protocols were ratified on August 19, 2002 and on May 4, 2004 respectively.

Though almost all countries are party to the said Convention, Turkey wishes to see an increase in the number of States Party to the two Optional Protocols, which remains comparatively low.

Besides these achievements, Turkey has also signed and ratified various international documents, such as:

• The European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights,

• The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Additional Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air as well as the Additional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children,

• The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol (with regard to the girl child), as well as the ILO Conventions against Child Labor (Conventions No. 138 and 182).

The cooperation programs between the Government of Republic of Turkey and the UNICEF have been carried out successfully since 1988. The programs of the Ministry of Labor & Social Security and ILO/IPEC, carried out since 1992, have been equally successful.

Besides achievements in the international fora, Turkey has also made major improvements in the domestic field. With an amendment to the Constitution in 2004, supremacy was given to international conventions concerning basic rights and freedoms, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, over all national laws.

Significant amendments have been made to the Turkish Civil Code, Labor Code, Turkish Criminal Code, Code on Enforcement of the Penalties and Security Measures, Code on Child Protection and the Code on Persons with Disabilities in line with the principles and provisions of the UN Convention on the Right of the Child.

In order to ensure and monitor the implementation of the legal framework Higher and Lower Boards have been established. In this respect, the Directorate-General of Institute for Social Services and Protection of the Child has been assigned as the coordinator body regarding issues related with children.

Moreover, the annual celebration of the inauguration anniversary of the Turkish Grand National Assembly as “Children’s Day” since 1929, is a clear embodiment of the importance that our country attaches to child affairs. On April 23 of every year, children from countries all over the world are hosted in Turkey to celebrate this fest.

In this awareness, Turkey intends to do her utmost to continue promoting the rights of children and bettering their living standards at home and abroad.