The Situation of Children Affected by Armed Conflicts in Turkey

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Report prepared by Humanist Bureau*

Introduction

We have been for years witnessing children losing their lives or getting injured during demonstrations or interventions by security forces. This report focuses on the time period after July 2015. Its objective is to make visible both the children who lost their lives or got injured and the leading factors since 26.07.2015, when Beytullah Aydın fell off the 7th floor of the building he was hiding in to escape from the police forces intervening with a demonstration in Diyarbakır and died. We also aim to make visible the victimization of children due to violation of their basic rights, including right to education, and losing their parents. It is expected that those who work in this area and those who live in this country become aware of their responsibilities regarding this end result and fulfill their obligations to protect children.

We believe that this report can be used in following ways:

  1. You can share this report as it is or in any form you find appropriate with related public institutions (Prime Ministry, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Family and Social Policies, etc.), supervisory bodies (Ombudsman Institution, Human Rights Institution, etc.) and international institutions (UNICEF, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, etc.) and invite them to fulfill their liabilities arising from the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Please see Appendix 1).

  2. You can share this report with related individuals and institutions and prompt them to make their demands.

  3. You can share your recommended action points on Facebook group “We Don’t Want War! We Don’t Want You To Kill Children!” to voice-up together.

We hope that this report will primarily serve to stop the interventions resulting in children’s death.

We also want to call attention to that during this time period children face with following threats and harms:

  • There are children who lost their body organs.

  • The living environments of children have been damaged during conflicts by bombs, missiles, bullets and mortars.

  • Children have to live under sounds of bombs, missiles, etc.

  • Children living in neighborhoods subject to curfews have to survive for days without access to basic needs, including food and clean water.

  • Children face difficulties in accessing primary health care even when injured or ill.

  • The schools remain closed in neighborhoods subject to curfews and children living in nearby neighborhoods and districts cannot go to school as they fear the sounds of ongoing conflicts.

  • Children witness their parents’, siblings’ and relatives’ death and sometimes have to live in the same place with their deceased bodies for some time.

  • Children are taken into custody, put under arrest or into prison.

  • The cultural ties of children are weakened as the historical and cultural values of their community are damaged and as they have to leave their home.

  • Children are not listened to and their right to participation is completely violated.

We also want to warn that:

  • There is an increasing risk of abuse and neglect of children in such environments.

  • Living under these circumstances not only results in the violation of children’s rights (to live, develop, be protected, education and health) but also impedes their future rights due to severe inequalities caused by these circumstances.

On the other hand, the ongoing armed conflicts violate the rights of children throughout the country as many children from different parts of country lose their mothers and/or fathers.

We would like to remind that States party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are obligated to protect all children affected by armed conflicts from all these harms and threats and ensure their rights.

That’s why we demand that;

  1. The precautions taken to stop the conflicts and establish peace without delay are announced to the public; and,

  2. The issues raised below to eliminate the harms children have suffered so far are followed up and necessary remedy actions are put in place immediately.

Children Who Lost Their Lives and were Injured Between 26.07.2015 – 30.11.20151

At least 44 children, aged between 3,5 months and 18 years old, are reported dead from 26.07.2015 to 30.11.2015 in Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Ağrı, İstanbul, Mardin, Van, Ankara, Hakkari and Adana (Table 1). Some of these children could not be buried for some time due to curfews in place. Within the same time period and in same provinces, at least 52 children, aged between couple of months and 18 years old, are reported to be injured (Table 2) and some of these children lost their body organs.

The reported2 reasons behind children’s death and injury include the following:

  • Getting shot during clashes or operations

  • Getting shot during demonstrations

  • Bomb explosion

  • Weapon explosion in civilian areas

  • Not receiving health care when ill

  • Getting shot while playing in the playground or on street during curfews

  • Getting shot by bullet or explosive while at home

  • Falling off a building while escaping from police forces

  • Being beaten by police

  • Getting shot as a result of not obeying security forces’ stop order

Issues to be followed regarding children’s death:

1) Are these cases being investigated?

2) Do children or families have legal representation?

3) How are the families compensated for their damages?

4) What kind of support services are provided to other children in the same family or close neighborhoods with children who lost their lives?

5) Are there other children who lost their lives?

6) Is there a public institution following up with the children how lost their lives?

Issues to be followed regarding children’s injury:

1) Are there other children who got injured?

2) Did any of the injured children die?

3) What is the treatment outcome of the injured children?

4) What kind of support services are provided to children who lost their body organs?

5) What kind of support services are provided to injured children and their families?

Harms, Other Than Violation of Right to Live, of Armed Conflicts on Children

Information on children who were affected by armed conflicts, except for those who lost their lives or got injured, is not available. Thus, it is important to gather the following information and to compensate for the damages caused:

  • The number of schools closed down in cities subject to curfews and for how long they have been closed

  • Children’s school attendance rate in cities subject to curfews and the number of children who cannot attend school and take their exams

  • Those who cannot access mother and child follow-up services by family physicians in cities subject to curfews

  • The number of births at home and deaths during birth

  • The number of children in custody or under arrest

  • The number of children migrating

  • The impact of conflicts, migration and losing relatives on children’s mental health and development

  • The impact of conflicts and migration on families’ socio-economic and psychological well-being and its effects on children

  • The socio-economic and psychological effects of conflicts and migration on health, education and social services professionals who are expected to serve children

Issues to be followed:

1) What kinds of services are available for treatment of mental health problems caused by armed conflicts? Are there enough health professionals in number and qualification who can provide such services?

2) What kind of measures are taken for protection and treatment of possible mental health problems of children who lost their mothers and/or fathers in conflicts?

3) What kind of precautions are taken to prevent violation of rights of children who are unable to attend schools?

4) Will the educational institutions and their surroundings be suitable for children after curfews are lifted? If not, where will children be educated until these institutions are renovated?

5) Is there any ongoing programme development for strengthening children’s and teachers coping capacities?

6) What are the measures taken to ensure that deprivation of liberty is the last resort for accused children?

7) What are the measures taken to ensure that pregnant women, infants and children can access health services during curfew times?

8) Are there children prompted or forced to take part in armed conflicts? What kind of measures are taken to prevent this from happening?

9) How do migrating families and children fulfill their housing needs? Can pregnant women and infants access to follow-up health care services? Can children in the compulsory education age be followed? Can children access to education and health services where they migrated to?

Table 1- Children reported to be killed between 26.07.2015 – 30.11.2015





26.07.2015 - 

Beytullah Aydın (11) - Diyarbakır3

11.09.2015 -

Ruken Demir (18) - Diyarbakır4

29.07.2015 - 

Hasan Nerse (17) - Şırnak5

13.09.2015 - 

Tahsin Uray (9) - Mardin6

07.08.2015 - 

Mehmet Hıdır Tanboğa (15) - Şırnak7

15.09.2015 -

Vedat Balık (18) - Van8

13.08.2015 - 

Emrah Muhammed Aydemir (14) and Orhan Aslan (16) - Ağrı9

28.09.2015 -

Bilal Mengil (16) - Diyarbakır10

18.08.2015 - 

Fırat Elma (16) - İstanbul 11

27.09.2015 - 

Elif Şimşek (8) - Diyarbakır, Bismil12

27.08.2015 - 

Baran Çağlı (7) - Şırnak13

29.09.2015 - 

Berat Güzel (12) - Diyarbakır, Bismil14

27.08.2015 - 

Emin Yanaş (10) - Şırnak15

02.10.2015 -

Vedat Akcanım (16) and Deniz… (17) - Diyarbakır16

27.08.2015 - 

Adem İrtegün (16) - Şırnak17

05.10.2015 -

Ömer Faruk Satılmış (16) - Van18

28.08.2015 - 

Mazlum Turan (16) - Mardin19

08.10.2015 -

Hasan Yılmaz (9) - Silvan20

30.08.2015 - 

Fırat Simpil (13) - Diyarbakır, Silvan21

09.10.2015 -

Adem Sevinç (17) - Yüksekova22

01.09.2015 -

Ali Kaval (18) - Hakkari23

10.10.2015 -

Veysel Atılgan (9) - Ankara24

05.09.2015 -

H.B. (16), Barış İşçen (16) - Şırnak25

12.10.2015 -

Helin Şen (12) - Diyarbakır, Sur 26

06.09.2015 -

Muhammed Tahir Yaramış (35 days) - Şırnak27

12.10.2015 -

Tevriz Dora (3) - Adana28

07.09.2015 - 

Cemile Çağırga (13) - Şırnak29

12.10.2015 -

İdris Cebe (18) - Mardin30

07.09.2015 -

Minlal Kerimi (10) - Hakkari31

16.10.2015 -

Azad Ertaş (16) - Yüksekova32

07.09.2015 -

Osman Çağlı (18) - Şırnak33

16.10.2015 -

Diyar Akın (12) - Yüksekova34

07.09.2015 -

Ömer Magi (12) - Şırnak35

25.10.2015 -

Mustafa Aşlığ (16) - Silopi36

10.09.2015 - 

Sait Nayici (16) - Şırnak37

03.11.2015 -

Çetin Dara (18) - Hakkari38

10.09.2015 -

Zeynep Taşkın (18) - Şırnak39

07.11.2015 -

Ferhat Doğru (18) - Diyarbakır40

11.09.2015 -

Bünyamin İrci (14) - Şırnak41

20.11.2015 -

Mehmet Reşit Arıcı (18) - Hakkari42

11.09.2015 -

Selman Ağar (10) - Şırnak43

28.11.2015 -

Nasip Yeşil (18) - Silopi44

Table 2- Children reported to be injured between 26.07.2015 – 30.11.2015





28.07.2015 -

Y.E.H (3) - Şırnak45

13.09.2015 -

M.K. (17) - Diyarbakır46

28.07.2015 -

Ş.B. (8) and Y.B. (10) - Şırnak47

15.09.2015 -

A. D. (13) and O. D. (17) - Diyarbakır48

28.07.2015 -

S.A (12) and M.G (15) - Mardin49

16.09.2015 -

S.B. (14) - Mardin50

01.08.2015 -

M.E.O (17) - Şırnak51

01.10.2015 -

S.E. (14) - Van52

08.08.2015 -

B.A (6) - Diyarbakır53

08.10.2015 -

M.Y. (5), Ü.Y. (10) and M.Y. (6) - Silvan54

19.08.2015 -

İ.D. (3) - Mardin55

09.10.2015 -

Ö. C. (16) and 2 children - Van56

27.08.2015 -

M.D. (17) - Mardin57

20.10.2015 -

S.M. (14) and H.M. (15) - Bingöl, Ekinyolu58

31.08.2015 -

B.Ö.A. (14) - Şırnak59

23.10.2015 -

M.D. - Silopi60

01.09.2015 -

C. Ş. (18) - Şırnak61

24.10.2015 -

A child - Şırnak62

04.09.2015 -

T.B. (6) - Şırnak63

29.10.2015 -

H.H. (13) - Balıkesir64

05.09.2015 -

B.İ. (16) - Şırnak65

06.11.2015 -

A 17 year of child - Diyarbakır, Sur66

06.09.2015 -

E.G. (7) - Diyarbakır67

08.11.2015 -

M. F. (11) and S. F. (10) - Yüksekova68

06.09.2015 -

D.Ö. (15) - Mardin69

09.11.2015 -

2 children aged 10 and 11 - Şemdinli, Üzümkıran 70

07.09.2015 -

M.B. (9) and B. İ. (12) - Şırnak, Cizre71

11.11.2015 -

A.G. (7) and İ.Y. (12) - Diyarbakır72

10.09.2015 -

B.T. (baby) - Şırnak

14.11.2015 -

C.Ç. (10) - Mardin, Nusaybin73

10.09.2015 -

D.B. (9) - Cizre 74

15.11.2015 -

S.Y. (9) and F.Y. (17) - Mardin, Nusaybin75

11.09.2015 -

Y.Ş. - Şırnak76

20.11.2015 -

İ.Ş (17) - Şırnak 77

13.09.2015 - 

A child, name an age unknown - Mardin78

24.11.2015 -

Y.M. - Diyarbakır79

13.09.2015 -

R.Ş. (13) - Mardin80

 

 

* This report is prepared by Humanist Bureau for the  We Don’t Wan’t War! We Don’t Want You To Kill Children!” Initiative in Turkey. Humanist Bureau, based in Istanbul, provides consultancy services on child rights and human rights for public, private, national and international institutions, local governments, universities, civil society organizations, political parties and individuals within the framework of European Union and international legislation.

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1 The list was prepared based on media scan and daily reports of THRF (Turkish Human Rights Foundation).

2 Refers to the reasons alleged on the news (links provided in the report) on children who lost their lives or were injured between 26.7.2015 – 30.11.2015.

 

Geographic terms: 

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