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Press Centre (3/2014)

Press Release on Children's Right to Life and Protection Against All Forms of Violence

Ankara, 12 March 2014 - UNICEF Turkey offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Berkin Elvan and expresses sincere regrets. 

As a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Government of Turkey has made a commitment to ‘take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation’ (UN CRC art.19). It also pledged to ‘recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly’ (UN CRC art.15) and to ‘undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights [of the child]’ (UN CRC art.4). 
UNICEF also appreciates that, Article 41 of the Turkish Constitution acknowledges that “The State shall take measures for the protection of the children against all kinds of abuse and violence”. Likewise, taking all the necessary measures to ensure prevention and punishment of all kinds of violence against children has been identified as one of the main activities in the recently approved National Child Rights Strategy of Turkey.
It is with immense sadness that UNICEF observes preventable child deaths in Turkey. It is the State’s responsibility to protect and promote every child’s inherent right to life, by intervening against all forms of violence against children, holding perpetrators of such violence accountable and exercising due diligence whenever children are threatened or at risk.
UNICEF sincerely hopes that recent and up-coming decisions of both national and regional human rights mechanisms on cases of extreme violence and preventable child deaths in Turkey will contribute to strengthen the culture of peace, protection and justice for children.

Taking note of the Government of Turkey’s draft National Strategy on Violence against Children and in line with its mandate, UNICEF will continue to support efforts in this area through effective coordination and specialisation across public institutions and in cooperation with civil society. 
For more information, please contact:
Séverine Jacomy-Vité, UNICEF Turkey Chief of Child Protection Section, Tel: +90 312 4541000, sjacomyvite@unicef.org
Sema Hosta, UNICEF Turkey Chief of Communications, Tel: +90 312 4541000 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