Turkey Says “YES!” for Children

Photograph by Rana Mullan © UNICEF Turkey 2002

Take action, be heard, say ‘YES!’ for Children!
Photograph by Rana Mullan
© UNICEF Turkey 2002

In the months leading up to the UNSSC in May, 2002, an astounding 16,000,000 Turkish men, women and children affirmed their support for a brighter future for children by signing the Say Yes for Children pledge.

At one in every four of the population, this represents the highest per capita response to the campaign of any country.

On the eve of the Special Session, Nelson Mandela presented just under 100,000,000 signatures to the President of the UN General Assembly.

Turkey recieved a special commendation for it’s resounding support of the campaign.

The Say Yes for Children pledge form listed ten actions necessary to ensure the well-being and development of children the world over:

  • LEAVE NO CHILD OUT: all forms of discrimination and exclusion against children must end.
  • PUT CHILDREN FIRST: It is the responsibility of everyone -- governments, individuals, non-governmental organisations, religious groups, the private sector and children and adolescents themselves -- to ensure that children's rights are respected.
  • CARE FOR EVERY CHILD: ensure that all children have the best possible start in life.
  • FIGHT HIV/AIDS: protect children and adolescents and their families.
  • STOP HARMING AND EXPLOITING CHILDREN: violence and abuse must be stopped now and the sexual and economic exploitation of children must end.
  • LISTEN TO CHILDREN: respect the rights of children and young people to express themselves and to participate in making the decisions that affect them.
  • EDUCATE EVERY CHILD: all girls and boys must be allowed to learn.
  • PROTECT CHILDREN FROM WAR: no child should experience the horrors of armed conflict.
  • PROTECT THE EARTH FOR CHILDREN: safeguard the environment at global, national and local levels.
  • FIGHT POVERTY -- INVEST IN CHILDREN: Invest in services that benefit the poorest children and their families, such as basic healthcare and primary education. Make the well-being of children a priority objective of debt relief programmes, development assistance and government spending.

Signatories were asked to prioritise the three actions they deemed most important. Of these ten actions, EDUCATE EVERY CHILD, LEAVE NO CHILD OUT and FIGHT POVERTY -- INVEST IN CHILDREN were voted the three most important actions in that order. In Turkey and the rest of the Central Eastern European and Baltics Region, LEAVE NO CHILD OUT was voted as the most important action.

Visit the Global Movement for Children’s website to learn more about the Say Yes for Children campaign and other activities.

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