Statement by Ms. Nesrin Çelik, Undersecretary of Ministry of Family and Social Policies, on the Comission on Status of Women

Nesrin Çelik 12.03.2015

Madam Chairperson,

Esteemed Delegates,

It is a pleasure for me to address you at this meeting, which not only reunites women who experience similar problems in all corners of the world and raise their demands for a more equitable social life but also marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

I would like to note that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is a vital product of the international efforts of the women to claim their well-deserved rights, still continues to inspire Turkey’s policies in its 20th year.

Our country has made significant progress in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women, strengthening women’s stance in social life, combating gender stereotypes and ensuring that women become members of a more equitable society. Our Government has embraced the goals of promoting education of women and girls to higher levels, boosting women’s labor force participation and eliminating violence against women as priority objectives.

We first laid the legal groundwork required for achieving these goals. We have further strengthened equality of men and women in the Constitution and principle laws. As one of the first signatories and the first to ratify the Istanbul Convention, our Government has rapidly put into force laws in conformity with the Convention. Moreover, we have intensified our efforts to implement these laws and duly taken administrative steps. In the 10th Development Plan covering the 2014-2018 period, we have designated our goals based on the reconciliation of work and family life and promoting social awareness through formal and non-formal education to eliminate violence and discrimination against women. We have implemented national action plans for combating violence against women and addressing the eight critical areas included in the Beijing Platform for Action. We are continuing to work on necessary updates with a view to ensuring sustainability of the action plans.

We have organized and will keep organizing wide-scale awareness raising activities and trainings for the public officials, primarily the police officers, gendarmerie staff, healthcare staff, religious staff, military personnel, judges and prosecutors.

Moreover, we have significantly improved services for women victims of violence. In the 4-year period between 2011 and 2014, we have increased the number of the women’s shelters affiliated with the Ministry of Family and Social Policies by 95 percent and boosted their capacity by 151 percent. We set up the Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centers to ensure access of the women victims of violence to the relevant services via a one-step system. We will keep on working to increase these numbers further. We are currently running projects to improve the standards and quality in service delivery.

In addition, Turkey has multiplied the recourse mechanisms to protect women’s human rights at the national level. The Constitutional Court, the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women, the Human Rights Institution and the Ombudsman Institution are the mechanisms of recourse for women facing violations.

Turkey has pursued an open door policy towards those compelled to flee their countries due to the conflicts in our region. We work to provide the displaced population of approximately 2 million, with the same services as those we offer to our citizens. Turkey has assumed almost the entire financial cost for this challenge. The United Nations, under the roof of which we have gathered, should take a more effective stance with a view to finding a sustainable solution to this issue. We would like to underline that, the problems of women that strive to survive or make their children survive especially in conflict areas or those who are forced to flee to other countries deserve as much attention as other problems. As stipulated in the UN Security Council resolution 1325 as well as the Women and Armed Conflict section of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the right to life and security of these women, which remain as an urgent matter, should be addressed, advocated and protected with priority above all other rights.

Madam Chairperson,

Esteemed Delegates,

I extend my respectful greetings to all of you and express our wish to build a world where the inherent rights of all, regardless of their gender, nationality, religion, race and culture, are equally important and protected.

Thank you.