Preventable death rate of Turkish kids ‘rising’

Preventable death rate of Turkish kids ‘rising’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Preventable death rate of Turkish kids ‘rising’

A child passes by the police officers who are on duty against the protesting workers in Mersin. DHA photo

The preventable death rate in Turkish children has increased by 20 percent in the past year, according to a report released by the Gündem Çocuk (Children on the Agenda) Association’s Children’s Rights Center.

Some 815 preventable death cases were listed in the Child’s Right to Live in Turkey Report for 2011, while there were 609 cases in 2012’s report. However, according to the organization’s assessment, the figures actually indicate an increase in the death rates, not a decrease.

While evaluating the figures for 2011, the center said at least 316 children died in the October 2011 Van-Erciş earthquake and that there were no natural disasters in 2012. As such, when the figures are readjusted for natural disasters, only 499 children died in 2011, versus 609 last year.

The report prompted main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul Deputy Süleyman Çelebi to submit a proposal to Parliament for an examination of the issue earlier this week. In his proposal, Çelebi emphasized that children have been faced with the impact of impoverishment, education problems, weapons, racism, discrimination, social and gender matters and regional disparities.

The MP said his proposal aimed to shine a spotlight on violations of children’s rights and to pave the way for studies that would facilitate legal action against such violations. The deputy also said 563 of the 609 cases in 2012 were directly related to the state’s negligence.

Children primary victim of rights abuse

The association said children were the primary victim of the abuse of fundamental rights in Turkey and that they were in greater danger of death the worse their socioeconomic situation. “We can say child-worker and child-bride case rates are increasing due to these problems and that more children have been held in an environment of armed or unarmed violence,” the group said.

While compiling the 2012 report, the association used scans from the print media and Internet newspapers, information gained through domestic resources where the cases occurred and reports and press briefings released by human rights organizations in Turkey. The report encapsulated the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012.

Out of the 609 victims, 48 children died due to violence, 30 due to personal weapons, 32 from suicide, 361 from negligence, 38 from work-related incidents and 14 from natural disasters. Forty of the children, meanwhile, were foreigners.

In addition, three children died in social incidents, four died in land mine or ammunition-related incidents, four died in armed conflicts, one died in an extrajudicial execution, while the remaining 34 died due to the alleged negligence of public officials.

500 minors are mothers


Almost 500 girls between the ages 12 and 17 became mothers last year in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, according to statistics from the local state hospital.

A total of 448 young girls gave birth in the Diyarbakır state hospital last year, daily Habertürk reported yesterday, citing the hospital’s statistics. A majority of these girls were not in any recognized marriage, as the law bans marriage for young girls.

However, the traditional religious type of marriage is still widespread in the region. The number of mothers aged 17 were 286, while 114 16-year-old girls gave birth. 48 mothers were 15 years old while three mothers were only 13 years old. One girl who gave birth to a child in the hospital was just 12 years old.