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Head of EU Delegation, Ambassador Christian Berger's opening remarks at TAIEX Workshop on Improvements in Child Justice: Developing Effective Policies

Opening remarks by Mr. Christian Berger,
Head of EU Delegation to Turkey

Ankara, 23 11 2017

 

Your Excellency, Minister of Family and Social Policies,

Your Excellency, Minister of Justice,

Eminent representatives of the Ministries, Gendarmerie, Universities, Bar Associations, The Ombudsman Institution and UNICEF,

Dear Civil Society Representatives,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is an honour and pleasure to take part with you in this TAIEX Workshop event dealing with Improvements in Child Justice: Developing Effective Policies - a common goal for Turkey and the EU.
 

The organisation of this event highlights the close cooperation between the Ministry of Justice of Turkey and the European Union in an area crucial to both of us: Making sure that children, the most vulnerable members of society, have access to a justice system that fully protects their rights and best interests, and does not do harm to their development potential.

Your presence and interest in this event which is taking place in the same week as the "Universal Children's Day" clearly demonstrate your commitment to invest in joint efforts to make the justice system in Turkey as child-friendly as possible.

The experience with juvenile justice reform in many EU countries and all over the world only confirms that unconditional prison sentences leading to the detention of juveniles often cause a very high rate of recidivism and therefore high human, social and economic costs for society.

Enhancing children's rights is a key priority for Turkey; this is shown in the government's endeavour to improve the implementation of the National children’s rights strategy and action plan. 

Like in most jurisdictions preventing arrests and convictions of minors but also the welfare of juveniles in detention are priorities.  Complying with international standards are accepted is not an issue that Turkey faces alone.  This TAIEX project is an important contribution to enhance the child-friendliness of the justice system and for example develop alternatives to detention. As a result, young people in conflict with the law will get another chance to build a successful life, which will in turn also benefit society as a whole.

Children's rights such as supporting child friendly justice systems and taking action against all forms of abuse, neglect, violence, sexual violence and exploitation are high on the EU's agenda, both inside the EU and in its financial cooperation activities worldwide.

 

Dear participants, Dear guests,

 

The rights of children are systematically discussed in our dialogues with international partners.  We regularly call on partner countries to ratify relevant international conventions, lift reservations, adopt or revise national legislation, identify areas where technical assistance could be helpful and promote good practices of protection of children's rights.

Implementing comprehensive juvenile justice systems is one of the obligations foreseen in the Convention for Rights of the Child.

In Turkey we have found dedicated and strong partners, like the MoFSP and MoJ with whom we cooperate in many projects helping us to share experience, provide training, offer experts' advice, and undertake study tours.

The EU and Turkey will continue to closely cooperate in the field of juvenile justice and other important topics of children's rights. There are some already programmed projects which are in the preparation phase.

Let me also mention Turkey’s exemplary role in safeguarding the right to education for a very big number of Syrian children who have sought refuge in this country.  We are supporting MoNE and UNICEF in this important task. It is in all our interest that no generation is lost and children are given the prospects of a better future.

Today and tomorrow you will have the opportunity to discuss all the achievements but also the remaining gaps in juvenile justice system and discuss EU's practices.

I wish you fruitful and interesting exchanges and I hope this dialogue will contribute to the children's rights in general and to the further actions in accordance with the best international standards and practices.