Kurds protest against Turkey’s violation of children’s rights


In response to the horrifying news of Kurdish children being subject to abuse, rape and administrative misconduct at Pozanti prison in Turkey, Kurdish activists staged a protest in London on yesterday. They met with UNICEF official Jon Sparkes to discuss the sexual abuse of Kurdish children, which has received little international attention. The storming of UNICEF by Kurdish youth came after phone calls and emails were ignored.

The activists made several demands to UNICEF. They urged the necessity of issuing a public statement to highlight Turkey’s growing record of Human Rights abuses towards Kurdish children in prison, who are often put with adults. Turkey’s violations have been ignored by international organisations that have been set up with the aim of preventing and highlighting abuse against children.

Kurdish Activists in London – UNICEF

Save The Children Headquarters in London was stormed shortly afterwards, but because they don’t have a branch in Turkey, it is unlikely that they would issue an investigation into this matter. However, since the first interview of the victims regrading sexual abuse in Pozanti prison, which we highlighted here, four officials from Pozanti prison have been removed according to Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49). The relevant articles in this case:

Article 4 (protection of rights)
Governments must do all they can to fulfil the rights of every child.

Article 19 (protection from all forms of violence)
Governments must do all they can to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and mistreatment by their parents or anyone else who looks after them.

Article 30 (children of minorities)
Every child has the right to learn and use the language, customs and religion of their family whether or not these are shared by the majority of the people in the country where they live.

Article 34 (sexual exploitation)
Governments must protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Article 37 (detention)
No child shall be tortured or suffer other cruel treatment or punishment. A child shall only ever be arrested or put in prison as a last resort and for the shortest possible time. Children must not be put in a prison with adults.

Article 39 (rehabilitation of child victims)
Children neglected, abused, exploited, tortured or who are victims of war must receive special help to help them recover their health, dignity and self-respect.

Article 40 (juvenile justice)
A child accused or guilty of breaking the law must be treated with dignity and respect. They have the right to help from a lawyer and a fair trial that takes account of their age or situation. The child’s privacy must be respected at all times.