More than 100 participants gathered on 15 April 2019 at the launch of a strategy document on the rights of the child developed by Ombudsman Institution (OI) and UNICEF. The strategy aims to further strengthen children’s access to justice and emphasize the importance ofsectoral collaboration on combatting violation of child’s rights.
The Strategy on the Rights of the Child, which aims to improve handling children’s cases within the OI and increase public awareness of children’s rights and the mandate of OI, was jointly introduced by Şeref Malkoç, Chief Ombudsperson, Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative to Turkey. It clearly identifies ways for children to access OI and its services, and if needed, OI to reach children.
The child participants, representing Child Rights Committees underlined the importance of having an easy access to OI and the institute’s technical capacity of taking quick action when a violation of a child right occurs.
The Chief Ombudsman Şeref Malkoç declared: “The Ombudsperson Institution plays a vital role in safeguarding children’s rights in Turkey; as it is the only public institution which has a mandate to receive complaints directly from children. Since its establishment the Ombudsperson Institution attaches specific importance to the involvement of children and youth in Institution’s work and looks forward to new initiatives in the upcoming period.”
The national coordinators of the Child Rights Committee, Muhammed Aktaş and Beyza Küçük welcomed the adoption of the Strategy and said: “We, as children, would like to get involved effectively and contribute to the decisions regarding children with our own experiences and views.”
UNICEF Representative to Turkey, Philippe Duamelle, during his intervention said: “It is our shared objective and hope that this strategy will contribute to better protect and promote child rights, including the right for children to seek redress from violations they can fall victims of.”
During the meeting, a work plan was also signed by UNICEF and OI to continue their partnership in promoting and protecting child rights in collaboration with policy makers, parliamentarians, public institutions, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, academia, and the general public, including children and young people.
Since its establishment in 2012, the OI works to promote and protect human rights, including children’s rights as defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since then, the Ombudsperson Institution (OI) and UNICEF have maintained a regular dialogue and an expanding close partnership to advocate for the rights of the children in Turkey.