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Press Centre (11/2014)

Children from 81 provinces gathers at the TGNA to mark the 25th anniversary of the CRC

ANKARA, 20 November 2014 - 200 children from 81 provinces of Turkey including children from Soma and children of Syria from host communities gathered for the 15th Children’s Forum organized by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies and The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TGNA/TBMM), with UNICEF’s support, between 18-20 November 2014 in Ankara. 

The 15th Children’s Forum focused on the rights and roles of children in emergencies, due to the impact of the recent Soma mining accident on children and to the increasing number of Syrian children living in Turkey. Also, this year, November 20th marks the25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), simultaneously celebrated in New York with the participation of the two National Coordinators of the Provincial Child Rights Committees, as child representatives of Turkey to this world event.      
In the outcome document of the Forum, presented at the GNAT, children emphasized that the biggest contribution for advocacy on children’s rights can be only made by children themselves and, in emergency situations, their contribution and their participation is the ultimate support.
“25 years ago, we made a promise to children: that we would do everything in our power to protect and promote their rights together with the children themselves” said Lieke van de WIEL, OIC UNICEF Turkey Country Office.“There is much to celebrate as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention, while recognizing that work on child rights will need to continue’ Especially in emergency and disasters settings when children are most vulnerable and have their rights least fulfilled, we need to step up to ensure protection and participation. That’s is why it is so important to give space to the children gathered here today and to listen to their opinion.” 

Prof. Dr. Türkan Dağoğlu, President of Child Rights Monitoring Committee in the TGNA pointed out the importance of 25th Anniversary of the CRC.

Family and Social Policies Minister Ayşenur İslam underlined that “Not only our children but all of us have a responsibility regarding the promotion, adoption and fulfillment of child rights including the public institutions, our media, NGOs and every single individual of this society” and said that “Our dear children, you are the most valuable beings of our country, while we are working on how to ensure the best environment and equal opportunities within social and economic conditions that you can live, survive and thrive, your support and your suggestions guide us”.

Speaker of TGNA Cemil Çiçek hosted 200 children in the Parliament building.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

About the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child explicitly recognizes the universal rights of all children. It is the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history and has inspired changes in laws and practice that have improved the lives of millions of children in every region of the world.

About Child Rights Committees in 81 provinces of Turkey
On the occasion of the Universal Child Rights Day, the Child Rights Campaign was first launched at the Presidential Residence on 20 November 1999 with the participation of child delegates from 81 provinces.Provincial Child Rights Committees are active since 2000, now under the Ministry of Family and Social Policies and they constitute a mechanism ensuring child participation at national level.

In each provincial committee there are two elected co-chairs, one boy and one girl representing children. Committee members come from all segments of society, thus ensuring wide participation at national level. “CHILD PARTICIPATION” takes place at large scale by soliciting the views of children in national reports prepared under the Convention of the Rights of the Child, in participation mechanisms developed and in issues in agenda.
For further information:
Sema Hosta, Chief of Communications, UNICEF Turkey +90 312 454 1000, shosta@unicef.org
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org