Justice for children
In Turkey, UNICEF works to ensure that every child who come in contact with the law as victim, witness or perpetrator is adequately protected
Each year, over 300.000 children come in contact with the law in Turkey as perpetrator, or as victims or witnesses of crimes. The complex procedures of the judicial processes often have negative impacts on children who come in contact with the justice system and their voices are sometimes overlooked within the process.
Marginalized children, such as refugees, receive less information than others about their rights, and are less likely to seek redress.
Furthermore, thousands of children every year are being held in detention, which has been proven to create severe risks for children and therefore should be considered as “a last resort”.
Given the unreported cases of violence and violation of children’s rights in general, the number of children in need of access to justice, requires special attention to ensure that these violations are better monitored, reported and that children are better served and protected by the justice systems. UNICEF also focused on improving the treatment of refugee and migrant children in contact with the law, and increasing awareness about refugee and migrant rights and entitlements.
Together with the Government of Turkey, judiciary, independent human rights institutions and civil society organizations, UNICEF in Turkey works to strengthen the justice and independent monitoring mechanisms to realize children’s right to access to justice.
UNICEF in this area is primarily focusing on:
- Strengthening child-friendly and sensitive procedures for children in contact with the justice system as victims, witnesses and perpetrators.
- Supporting the Ministry of Justice in establishing child-friendly interview rooms to ensure that children in contact with the law are protected from re-victimization.
- Building the capacity of law enforcement and justice professionals to ensure that children are better serviced and protected by justice systems.
- Advocating for expanding the quality and provision of non-custodial measures, with particular emphasis on probation, and ensuring that deprivation of liberty is used as a last measure and in the shortest possible time.
- Ensuring that children and their families have access to child-sensitive redress mechanisms by increasing the outreach and technical capacity of the Ombudsperson’s Institution.
- Supporting civil society organizations to better monitor, report and advocate against child rights violations and maintain their regular dialogue with various organizations on this front.
- Protecting refugee and migrant children in contact with the law, and increasing awareness about refugee and migrant rights and entitlements.