Turkey marks Children’s Day, improvements needed

Turkey marks Children’s Day, improvements needed

Esra Ülkar / Gülseven Özkan - ISTANBUL
Turkey marks Children’s Day, improvements needed

AA photo

Children’s rights in Turkey have not been improving over the years, with many continuing to lack education, a new report has said amid the marking of Universal Children’s Day on Nov. 20.  

Nov. 20 has been celebrated as Universal Children’s Day since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, which was signed by Turkey in 1990 and enacted in 1995.

Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Ayşen Gürcan attended a ceremony held in parliament to honor Children’s Day, stating that the Syrian refugee crisis had affected children more than anyone else. 

In total, 121 million children and adolescents have never started school or dropped out in 2015, according to a new joint report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF, “Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children.”

In total, 310,866 children and adolescents are out of the school in Turkey, according to the same report. 

Meanwhile, an International Labour Organization report says there are 168 million child laborers who are between the ages of 5 and 17 around the world. The latest Turkish statistics on the same issue were recorded in 2012, with 292,000 children between the ages of 6 and 14 out of school. This number is 601,000 among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 17 in the country. Sexual abuse is also a major violation of rights the children are facing. 

The number of lawsuits caused by child marriages increased in past 12 years from 4,500 cases in 2002 to 17,500 cases in 2014, according to data taken from Bilkent University’s International Children Center. 

The world remains a deeply unfair place for the poorest and most disadvantaged children, UNICEF said in a report released on Nov. 20. “In just over a generation, the world has cut child death rates by half, put over 90 percent of children in primary school, and increased by 2.6 billion the number of people with access to safe water,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Yet children make up almost half of the world’s poor, nearly 250 million children live in conflict-torn countries, and over 200,000 have risked their lives this year seeking refuge in Europe.”