ACTION PLANS FOR THE PLATFORM’S WORKING COMMITTEES
LEGAL COMMITTEE - Action Plan
1) The Committee will write a book on the rights of the child.
The book will be written in plain language and focus on the rights of the child from the perspectives of both national and international laws.
The book will address specifically the challenges being encountered, such as violations of children’s rights and the risks facing children, and will also offer solutions for them under the following headings:
a) Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Sexually Abused Children
b) Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children Forced into Child Marriage
c) Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children Exposed to Substance Abuse
d) Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children Deprived of Education
e) Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children under Risk
• Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
• Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children Exposed to Violence in State-run Organizations
• Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children Detained or Imprisoned
• Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Street Children
• Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children Involved in Forced Labor
• Legal Means of Maintenance Payment to Economically Disadvantaged Children
• Legal Means of Maintaining Personal Relationship between the Child and his/her Parent during Marriage or after Divorce
• Rights and Legal Remedies Available to Children Raped and Impregnated; Abortion
2) Municipalities will be contacted in an effort to hold informative conferences for residents on children’s rights jointly with academics, lawyers, psychologists and pedagogues.
3) We will hold a comprehensive “Children’s Rights Platform Conference” on 20 November every year.
4) We will hold conferences on the rights of the child at various universities.
EDUCATION COMMITTEE - Action Plan
We are aware that the national education system of Turkey aims to help children grow into creative, constructive and productive individuals who are physically, mentally, morally and emotionally healthy, capable of developing free and scientific thoughts, having a global perspective, respecting human rights and feeling responsibility towards society.
The National Education Law is structured around 14 principles:
Generality and Equality: Educational facilities are open to all individuals and everyone is entitled to equal opportunities in education.
Orientation: Individuals are directed towards curricula and schools according to their interest, aptitude and skills.
Equal Opportunities: All individuals are provided with equal opportunities in education. Successful children who are economically disadvantaged and those who need special education or protection are also provided with equal opportunities in education by means of free boarding, scholarships, loans, etc.
Planning: National education is planned and implemented in line with the national development programs (including educational facilities, staff, etc.).
Mixed Gender Education: Integrated education of male and female students in the same environment is essential.
Our national education system, based on the principles listed above, should take into account children’s differences and rights throughout their development and educational life.
Article 28 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most comprehensive regulation in international law, highlighting the goals of individual education. The purposes defined in all the five paragraphs of Article 28 are intended to call on the state parties to recognize the child’s personal development needs, human dignity and rights and to support the child’s development in all the areas they are interested in.
Our Platform’s motto in this respect is: “Respect for children and for their rights is the essence and top priority of education.” With our members dedicated to the idea that the right to education is a universal human right, we will work to find the answer to the question, “Why are we failing to help all children exercise their right to education based on human dignity?”
According to data released by the Turkish Ministry of National Education in 2012: “The rate of children completing elementary education has reached the highest level in the country’s history. A great majority of those children are attending secondary education. We have achieved a similar record-high percentage in terms of pre-school education.”
However, the UNICEF 2012 Annual Report for Turkey suggests a picture different from the one provided by the Ministry of National Education:
651.482 children aged between 6 and 13 do not go to school. 484.460 out of those children are aged between 6 and 10. All in all, nearly one out of three children has no access to education.
Children are being shaped through the sharp and inflexible rules of our education system. The disadvantages caused by negative societal, familial and economic circumstances will continue to drive children out of education unless some appropriate additional measures are not taken. “Exclusion from education”, a concept similar to “social exclusion”, is among the child-related problems we will focus on. We will strive to put a remedial strategy in place of the existing competitive strategy, which is causing losses in human capacity, by ensuring horizontal and vertical flexibilities and transfers in the child’s education from elementary school up to university.
As to the educational process that is invisible or is made invisible, we believe we need to focus more on the answers to the questions “what has not been done, and how and why?” or “what must we do?”, rather than statistical answers to them. For the reasons given above, the Education Committee of our Platform is determined to work on these questions and answers and to contribute to all the efforts undertaken to find solutions.
COMMITTEE FOR CHILDREN UNDER RISK - Action Plan
What can be done to help:
Children Forced into Committing Crimes,
Neglected and Abused Children,
Children Involved in Child Labor, and
Children Exposed to Substance Abuse?
1. Identifying Needs: Where and how are children treated (at home, schools, police stations, courts of law, prisons/rehabilitation facilities, dormitories, etc. and on the street)? What or which circumstances do we define as risk?
2. Cooperation with public authorities and institutions: Cooperation with public authorities and institutions dealing with children in any manner.
a. Review and assessment of the responsibilities and actions of the public authorities / Ministries regarding those risk factors.
b. In case of street children; the Family and Social Policies Ministry, National Education Ministry, Ministry of Justice, Police Directorate General, etc.
c. In case of children forced into committing crimes; the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Family and Social Policies Ministry, Police Directorate General, etc.
d. In case of neglected and abused children; the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Family and Social Policies Ministry, Police Directorate General, Bar Associations, etc.
e. In case of children involved in child labor; the Family and Social Policies Ministry, Labor and Social Security Ministry, etc.
f. In case of children exposed to substance abuse; the Ministry of Health, Family and Social Policies Ministry, Ministry of Justice, Police Directorate General, etc.
g. Increasing public awareness and improving legal functionality to enforce the measures or protective mechanisms available to but omitted by public authorities.
3. Contact third-party NGOs engaged or interested in the protection of children’s rights.
4. Preventive Actions: Identifying areas with condensed population of children under risk and building coordination centers, in cooperation with the Family and Social Policies Ministry, if possible, to better focus on those areas.
To prevent child labor, economically disadvantaged families needing their children’s income will be identified and referred to social aid organizations for financial support. Preventive actions may vary depending on the type of each risk group and would thus require a high volume of workforce.
COMMITTEE FOR FAMILIES AND ALTERNATIVE FAMILIES - Action Plan
A family is defined as a group of people affiliated by affinity that meets the physiological and psychological needs of the child and protects the child against all hazards in an appropriate environment where the child can grow safely.
The child is prepared for the future on the basis of the structure, cultural texture and available means of the family they are born into. The child’s is shaped mainly by their parents’ approach to and feeling of responsibility for raising children.
The child is protected first in the family.
Some of the problems that are often encountered in Turkey in terms of children’s rights include: lack of and/or insufficient access to adequate education and learning; being exposed to violence; and child marriage and/or forced marriage. Some parents contribute to these problems at varying levels, depending on their cultural background and economic condition.
The Committee has developed various projects to provide psycho-education to parents in an effort to contribute to the protection of children and their rights:
1- Secrets to Being a Family: The best thing parents can do for their children is to create a family environment where each member of the family treats all other members of the family with love and respect and also helps them meet their needs and contribute to their personal development. Based on the principle that only a happy spouse would be a good parent, this project is intended to provide training for soon-to-be-married individuals in improving communication and thus help them build a healthy, loving family. The pre-marriage consultancy and training program includes guidance on the requirements of a common life, different approaches solving relationship problems and updates on the changes and amendments made to the Civil Code.
2- Happy Family – Happy Children Program: This program is intended to help parents better understand their children, become aware of children’s development stages and needs, and discover their own parenting characteristics so as to better raise their children. Thus, new or soon-to-be parents will be provided guidance on raising their children and on how to cope with problems they might encounter during parenting.
3- The Committee will produce informative DVDs with short running time and have them broadcast on TV channels in order to reach as many parents as possible.
4- The Committee will provide psycho-education to parents with children attending kindergarten through to high school.
5- The Committee is planning to conduct research and projects to determine the needs and supervisory mechanisms for building houses of affection and developing foster care models.
COMMITTEE FOR RELATIONS WITH LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL NGOs - Action Plan
The overall objective of the Committee is to support the Platform and its member NGOs in their efforts to develop pioneering solutions regarding the rights of the child, and to encourage the member-NGOs to actively participate in the Platform’s policy making and implementation processes in an effort to affect public reforms and increase public awareness.
The Committee aims specifically:
1. To develop projects for the Platform to help it strengthen its own operations across Turkey and to continuously improve its own management process;
2. To increase the Platform members’ capacity of communication, information exchange and joint project development;
3. To encourage the member NGOs to develop projects jointly to support the Platform’s operations;
4. To contact national and international organizations to raise funds for such projects;
5. To contact all the segments of society in Turkey to increase public awareness about the rights of the child, ensure active participation by society in public policy-making processes in Turkey, and to advocate introduction of reforms regarding the rights of the child;
6. To review national and international studies, publications and innovations and ensure that those are reflected to the Platform’s operations; and
7. To develop and implement innovative cooperation models for various sectors.