Helping conscripts become responsible citizens

Helping conscripts become responsible citizens

Background

The mainstreaming of human rights in all parts of society is crucial for strengthening the protection, promotion and fulfilment of fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual. The fundamental rights specified in major international and European conventions are enshrined in Turkey’s constitution. However, members of society are often unaware of their own fundamental rights and those around them. Likewise they lack knowledge about the importance of protecting the environment and general health care issues, including the dangers of substance abuse.


The aims of the project and its core activities

As the result of its extensive experience with conscripts, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) was aware of the need to make young men aware of the importance of their fundamental rights and freedoms as well as issues related to their health and environment. Conscious of its social role, the TAF initiated this project, with the support of the EU, to contribute to the physical, psychological and emotional development of recruits, equipping them with useful skills for life and making them responsible and considerate members of society.

The training programme for conscripts was enhanced to include components on a wide range of human rights – including women’s rights and gender equality, children’s and social rights – as well as the protection of the environmental and general health care, with a focus on the dangers of substance abuse.

These issues are taught through video-based guided study supported by internet protocol television technology.

Initial evaluations of the impact of the training programmes have disclosed that conscripts perceived the video materials as impressive and catchy. It was observed that conscripts were very participatory in the training programme as long as they are given the opportunity to contribute and as long as the questions posed are based on daily life experiences and not academic.