Türkiye. Stemming the tide of violence against women and girls should be a priority, says UN expert [EN/TR] – Turkey

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GENEVA / ANKARA (July 27, 2022) – Despite the significant progress Turkey has made over the past 15 years in promoting women’s rights, the country is now at a crossroads and risks backtracking on its human rights obligations to protect women and girls against violence, concluded a UN expert after her country. visit.

In a statement At the end of her visit, Reem Alsalem, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, acknowledged the particularly difficult context in which the government of Türkiye and other stakeholders are tackling to the problem of violence against women and girls. The problem has been compounded by the country’s economic situation and the implications of generously hosting nearly 4 million refugees – mostly Syrians under temporary protection, the expert said.

However, she said Turkey has made considerable progress in sustainable development, taking fundamental steps to eradicate poverty and increasing support for marginalized and disadvantaged sections of society, including women and girls.

Alsalem recognized the strong legal framework for the prevention of violence against women and girls through the law to protect the family and prevent violence against women (Law 6284), as well as the Turkey’s four National Action Plans and Specialized Initiatives, including the Mobile Phone Emergency Assistance App: KADES.

“Turkey has made significant legal and policy reforms to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, but these fall short of its full capacity, potential and responsibilities to protect women and girls living on Turkish soil and do not correspond to the seriousness of the situation. situation,” Alsalem said.

The UN expert said much of Turkey’s progress in advancing gender equality and ending violence against women and girls would not have been possible without the international human rights framework, including the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women. and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention)

“Almost all stakeholders I met in Türkiye unequivocally recognize the influence of the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women and girls, and how intrinsically it is linked to identity, aspirations, destiny and position of Türkiye at the regional level and beyond,” the special rapporteur said.

“I therefore call on the government of Turkey to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention and to continue to respect its other international human rights obligations,” she said.

The Special Rapporteur said that the implementation of national legislation has been weakened by Turkey’s withdrawal from the Convention, including the preventive measures and services currently in place for victims of gender-based violence. The withdrawal also emboldened perpetrators and put victims at greater risk of violence, she warned.

According to the latest government survey conducted in 2014, approximately 1 in 4 women have experienced physical or sexual abuse from their partner. Combined data provided by government, independent media and civil society groups points to hundreds of femicides each year. Yet, a lack of trust in the protection and assistance mechanisms available; widespread impunity for acts of violence and gender bias and discrimination has resulted in severe under-reporting.

The UN expert said the effectiveness of Türkiye’s initiatives to address violence against women and girls and assist and protect victims was hampered by the lack of reliable disaggregated data, insufficient access and shelter, lack of effective protection orders, language barriers and lack of accountability.

While the consequences of these gaps and challenges affect women and girls in Turkey in general, specific groups of women and girls are particularly at risk, including those who are: refugees; migrants, beneficiaries of temporary protection status, human rights defenders, women active in politics – including those of Turkish-Kurdish origin – LBTI; women in detention; and women with disabilities – among others.

“No society can truly prosper unless its women and girls enjoy equality and are free from violence. All stakeholders I met agreed that violence against women and girls has no place in Turkish society. Turkey must therefore translate this belief into practice, fighting impunity and prioritizing the issue of violence against women and girls at the highest level,” Alsalem said.

She urged the Turkish authorities to devote more resources to addressing violence against women and girls, tackling harmful social and cultural norms, and strengthening its national machinery. “The government should expand the reach and participation of civil society organizations, especially women’s human rights organizations that put women’s interests at the center of efforts,” she said.

“In many ways, Turkey is at an important crossroads in its history. It can either consciously and deliberately choose to protect the gains made in advancing the rights of women and girls, or risk rolling back this important progress and leaving its women and girls behind,” Alsalem said.

During her 10-day visit, the Special Rapporteur met with relevant ministers, government institutions, provincial authorities as well as representatives of international organizations, civil society organizations, trade unions, business associations lawyers and Turkish and foreign women and girls victims of violence. nationals.

She will present a full report on her visit to the Human Rights Council in June 2023.

ENDS

Mrs. Reem Alsalem (Jordan) was appointed Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences by the UN Human Rights Council in July 2021, to recommend measures, ways and means, at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and remedy its consequences. She is an independent consultant on gender issues, refugee and migrant rights, transitional justice and humanitarian response. She holds a Masters in International Relations from the American University in Cairo, Egypt (2001) and a Masters in Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom of Great Britain. and Northern Ireland (2003).

Special rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system, is the general name for the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific national situations or issues themes in all regions of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

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