Istanbul Convention withdrawal put children’s rights at risk: Rights group

Ozan KOSE / AFP

The Partnership Network, a children’s rights group representing 33 nongovernmental organizations, has warned that Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention has the potential to lead to more children’s rights violations in Turkey in addition to dealing a blow to the fight against domestic violence, Turkish Minute reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he issued the decree on March 20 that withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, the Bianet news website reported.

NGOs working in the field of children’s rights have released a joint statement on Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, saying the treaty is important not only for women who are exposed to violence but also for children.

“The Istanbul Convention, along with many other human rights conventions, takes into account also the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said the NGOs in their statement. “In other words, it considers all individuals as children up to the age of 18 and includes children in this contract.”

Despite the rising average age of marriage, child marriage remains an ongoing challenge in Turkey and reflects a pattern of gender inequality that reinforces stereotypical roles for girls and curtails their education, compromises their health and exposes them to the risk of violence and poverty, according to UNICEF.

The NGOs warned that withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention may lead to failure to take steps to eliminate gender inequality, prevent the development of preventive programs and to impunity for violence and abuse against women and children as well as causing the acceptance of child abuse through marriage, failure of the provision of post-abuse and post-violence support systems, and encouragement of hate speech and crimes towards LGBTI+ people.

The NGOs said they refuse to recognize Erdoğan’s decree and continue to say that the Istanbul Convention saves lives.

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