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Press Centre (11/2016)

Children discuss right to participation at the Turkish Grand National Assembly

210 children from all 81 provinces of Turkey ? including 40 Syrian children and children with disabilities presented their recommendations to the GNAT. Photo Credit: © UNICEF Turkey/2016/Ustun
ANKARA, 21 November 2016 – 210 children from all 81 provinces of Turkey – including 40 Syrian children living in Turkey and children with disabilities – have gathered at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) on 21 November 2016 during the Closing Session of the 17th Children’s Forum jointly organized by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies and UNICEF.

The Children’s Forum focused on social inclusion, social cohesion, the place of children with disabilities in society as well as children’s participation. The outputs of the 17th National Child Forum were presented at the GNAT in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Family and Social Policies Mehmet Ersoy, UNICEF Representative in Turkey Philippe Duamelle and the Ombudsman for Children Serpil Çakın.

In their final declaration document read at the Parliament, the children delegates called on officials to develop further and encourage children’s participation and strengthen children’s rights. In the document, they suggested establishing a permanent Child Rights Monitoring Committee at the Parliament, ensuring child participation within the Ombudsman institution and increasing the numbers of local platforms allowing children to be represented – such as the Municipal Children Assembly, Child Right Committees and Youth Committees – across the 81 provinces of the country. "As children, we want to be trusted and our ideas being taken into account," the document said.

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 platform ensuring child participation at national level.
Each provincial committee counts 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.
For further information:
Sema Hosta, Chief of Communications, UNICEF Turkey +90 312 454 1010, 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