Joint Declaration by Human Rights Organisations in Turkey: “We Don’t Want War! We Don’t Want Children To Die!”

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"Peace Forever"

The ongoing armed-conflicts in provinces and districts, in Turkey, in which civilians also live, have resulted in the death and injury of many children, or of their parents. In consideration of this grave situation, we must remind the State of the Republic of Turkey of their responsibilities arising from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 38) and Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict:

  1. To respect and to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts.

  2. To take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of eighteen1 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.

  3. To take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.

The society of Turkey must be made aware of the precautions the State is taking, in areas where military operations are conducted, to ensure the right to life and protection of the child and civilians, to protect the physical and mental health of children who have been harmed or have lost a parent as a result of being in a conflict situation and to minimise the long lasting negative effects of this period.

Additionally, these precautions must be made effective immediately in order to prevent the further death and suffering of children. Upmost importance and priority must be given to ensure that special precautions are taken for the wellbeing and safety of children who themselves have been harmed in the conflict or have experienced trauma due to the loss or injury of a relative.

We invite the State to publicise and explain the precautions being taken to prevent injury to children and all civilians, to stop the armed conflict so as to prevent the death and injury of children and to adopt peaceful solutions to resolve the situation. The death or harm of a child resulting from an attack by one of the conflicting parties or the prevention of access to vital resources, such as medicine or food, is a grave assault on the right to life. Conflict situations endanger many rights of the child, most notable, the right to education, protection and health. This deterioration of these rights cannot be accepted as a collateral consequence of war nor can it be ignored. States are responsible for the protection of civilians, in particular children, in conflict situations and must give priority to the best interest of the child in all its affairs. These fundamental responsibilities, assured to children, require the guns to be silenced immediately.

We also call on the international community, most notably the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and UNICEF. Children who are victims of armed conflicts, like those previously experienced in the Balkans and now in Turkey and the whole Middle East, reveal a reality to the world: the whole UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in particular Article 38, is suspended, not only in wars, but in all armed conflict situations. In the current situation, we invite the international community, in particular the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and UNICEF, to send, without delay, an observer delegation to areas where armed operations take place so as to prevent child deaths, to encourage the State to announce the expected precautions to be taken in compliance with Article 38 of the Convention and to urgently organise a conference in order to engage the attention of the relevant regional states concerning the necessary precautions needed in conflict situation.

1 Although the age limit is 15 in the Convention, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict sets the age limit at 18. 

Contact “We Don’t Want War! We Don’t Want Children To Die!” Initiative via cocuklaricinbarisistiyoruz@gmail.com for further information. You can also sign the petition (Turkish) here.

Organisations signed the declaration:

Kurumsal İmzacılar Adana Barosu, Adli Tıp Uzmanları Derneği, Ağaçkakan Yayınları, Anne Çocuk Eğitim Vakfı, Barış için Kadın Girişimi, Başak Kültür ve Sanat Vakfı, Başka Bir Okul Mümkün Derneği , Bellek ve Kültür Sosyolojisi Çalışmaları Derneği, Bitlis Barosu, Bitlis İnsan Hakları Derneği, Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Sosyal Hizmet Kulübü, Ceza İnfaz Sisteminde Sivil Toplum Derneği, Cinsel Şiddetle Mücadele Derneği, Çocuk Alanında Çalışan Avukatlar Ağı, Çocuk İstismarını ve İhmalini Önleme Derneği, Çocuklar Aynı Çatının Altında Derneği, Denizli Çınar Lions Derneği, Denizli Koruyucu Aile Derneği, Diyarbakır Barosu , Diyarbakır Sanayici ve İş İnsanları Derneği, Diyarbakır Tabip Odası, Doğu Akdeniz Üniversitesi Psikoloji Bölümü, Eğitim Reformu Girişimi, EğitimSen, Eksi 25 Derneği, Elim Sende Derneği, Eşit Haklar İçin İzleme Derneği, Gültepe Kültür Derneği, Gündem Çocuk Derneği, Hayata Destek Derneği, Hayvan Hakları İzleme Komitesi, HDK İzmir LGBTİ Komisyonu, Hümanist Grup Derneği, İnsan Hakları Araştırmaları Derneği, İnsan Hakları Derneği Ankara Şubesi, İnsan Hakları Derneği, İstanbul Tabip Odası, İzmir Sağlık ve Hasta Hakları Derneği, Ka.Der Ankara Şubesi, Kadıköy Kent Konseyi Kadın Meclisi, Kadın Partisi, Kadınlarla Dayanışma Vakfı, Kaos-GL Derneği, Karaburun Bilim Kongresi Düzenleme Kurulu, Kırmızı Biber Derneği, KİKAP Trabzon, Lambdaistanbul LGBTİ Dayanışma Derneği, Koç Üniversitesi Çocuk ve Aile Çalışmaları Laboratuvarı, Mardin Tabip Odası, Mavi Kalem Derneği, Mezopotamya Toplum ve Sağlık Derneği, Muş Kadın Çatısı Derneği, Okuma İstekli Çocukları Destekleme Derneği, Özgürlüğünden Yoksun Gençlerle Dayanışma Derneği, Pratisyen Hekimlik Derneği, Diyarbakır Şubesi, Psikolojik Danışmanlar Derneği, Ruh Sağlığında İnsan Hakları Girişimi Derneği, Sivil Destek Ekibi, Sosyal Kültürel Yaşamı Geliştirme Derneği, Sulukule Gönüllüleri Derneği, Taraftar Hakları Derneği, Tarlabaşı Toplum Merkezi, Teatra Sî Tiyatro Grubu, The Zeitgeist Movement Global, Toplumsal Duyarlılık ve Şiddet Karşıtları Derneği, Travma Çalışmaları Derneği, Tutuklu Hükümlü Aileleri Hukuk Dayanışma Dernekleri Federasyonu, Türk Kadınlar Birliği Denizli Şubesi, Türk Psikologlar Derneği, Türkiye Çocuk ve Ergen Psikiyatrisi Derneği, Türkiye Çocuklara Yeniden Özgürlük Vakfı, Türkiye Kadın Dernekleri Federasyonu, Uluslararası Aktivist Sanatçılar Derneği, Uluslararası Çocuk Merkezi, uzuncorap.com, Yapı-Yol Sendikası, Zeitgeist Türkiye

 

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