Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman, Charge d’Affaires a.i., Deputy Permanent Representative at Third Committee on Rights of Children

Fazlı Çorman 15.10.2010
Mr. Chairman,

Safeguarding and increasing the wellbeing of the children is one of humanity’s most profound responsibilities. With this understanding, Turkey endeavors to do her utmost to continue to promote the rights of the children and to improve their living conditions.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey is party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts.

With an amendment to the Constitution in 2004, supremacy was given to international conventions concerning fundamental rights and freedoms, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, over all national laws. In accordance with this amendment, existing laws will have to be interpreted in the light of provisions and principles of this Convention.

Turkey is also party to United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Additional Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air as well as the Additional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, ILO Conventions against Child Labor (Conventions No. 138 and 182).

The Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two optional Protocols provides the legal basis and guides efforts of the international community. This year, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and we wish to see an increase in the number of States Party to the two Optional Protocols, which remains comparatively low.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey has undertaken a comprehensive review of its domestic legal framework. In this respect relevant parts of the Turkish Civil Code, Labor Code, Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Code on Enforcement of the Penalties and Security Measures, Child Protection Code and the Code on Persons with Disabilities were amended in line with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As a result of the adoption of the Constitutional reform package at a referendum on 12 September 2010, human rights and fundamental freedoms have been further expanded in Turkey.

With the amendment to Article 41 of the Constitution which now reads “Protection of the Family and Children’s Rights”, protection of the rights of the child is provided a constitutional basis, in accordance with universal principles and international conventions to which Turkey is a party. The amendment guarantees children the right to access “adequate protection and care” and to “establish and maintain a personal and direct relationship with his/her parents”.

The principle of the best interest of the child, which is considered an umbrella right of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has been granted a constitutional safeguard. This concept requires the protection of the rights of the child and that the child will be heard when deemed necessary, in all decision-making processes involving children, including administrative and legal proceedings as well as legislative and policy-making processes.

It is now a constitutional duty of the State to take the necessary measures for the protection of children against all sorts of child abuse. Hence, certain rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Council of Europe Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights and similar international instruments have become an integral part of the Constitution.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey takes pride in dedicating a-specific day to children. Indeed, every year on 23rd of April, we are joined by children from all over the world in celebrating the Children’s Day. This date marks the inauguration of the Turkish Parliament in 1920 and thus signifies the importance attached to children in our country.

Thank you