UNITE FOR CHILDREN-- UNICEF

Press Centre 2006/01/23: Child Protection

EU supports enhancement of good governance, protection and justice for children in Turkey

Speakers at the launch of Children First, Ankara, January 2006

Speakers at the launch of Children First in Ankara, 20th January 2006: General Director of the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK), İsmail Barış; Undersecretary of National of Education, Nejat Birinci; UNICEF Representative in Turkey, Edmond McLoughney; State Minister Nimet Çubukçu; Singer Doğuş; Minister of Interior, Abdülkadir Aksu; Head of the European Commission Delegation to Turkey Hansjoerg Kretschmer and Deputy General Director of Prisons, Reformatories and Detention Centres, Judge Ekrem Bakır.
Photograph by Rana Mullan © UNICEF Turkey 2006

Children First logo

Towards Good Governance,
Justice and Protection
for Children in Turkey

Ankara, 23 January 2006 -- An EU-financed project Towards Good Governance, Protection and Justice for Children in Turkey or Children First was launched on 20th January 2006 at the Hilton Hotel, Ankara.

The project involves the Social Services and Child Protection Agency General Directorate (SHÇEK), the Security General Directorate, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of National Education (MONE), the Turkish Bar Association and civil society organisations. UNICEF will implement the project activities. The main programme beneficiary and the operational partner is the Gendarme General Commander. The 27 month long project will be financed with €6 million out of the European Community budget.

As stated in the last year’s Progress Report of the European Commission, Turkey adopted a legal framework concerning child protection for the first time in 2005. However, recent incidents in a child care institution in Malatya triggered criticism of the whole child protection system in Turkey. Areas that continue to be of concern are protection of children from domestic violence; ill-treatment and abuse; the system of institutionalisation of children; juvenile justice; as well as the issue of an independent monitoring system for child rights. Reportedly there are 42,000 children living and/or working on the streets and approximately 18,000 are living in institutions. In addition to that children wait on average 400 days to appear in court while adults in general wait for only half that time.

The specific aim of the project is to upgrade the capacity of related institutions to provide a more protective environment for children coming in contact with the law. This will include the collection of baseline data and empirical evidence; the development of common strategies and collaborative implementation practices for the protection and reintegration of these children. In this respect, the project will examine the current situation of children in Turkey and will conduct pilot projects in thematic areas.

All in all, this project aims to improve the capacities of professionals and policy and decision makers at the legal, policy and institutional levels to establish a protective environment for children in contact with the law and also vulnerable children. Through training of trainers, relevant institutions will be equipped with advanced training and teaching materials, so that professionals will gain expertise in child rights, child protection and the juvenile justice system.

More details about Children First.

For more information:

Sema Hosta, Communications Officer, UNICEF Turkey,
Tel: +90 (0)312 454 1010

Burge Hayran, Assistant Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Turkey,
Tel: +90 (0)312 454 1008

Gamze Kösekahya, Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey,
Tel: + 90 (0)312 459 8700

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