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Today is the International Day of the Girl

With the advocacy efforts of Turkey, Canada and Peru, the United Nations General Assembly declared Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child to end discrimination against girls and to fully and effectively ensure the human rights of girls. Since 2012, International Day of the Girl Child is being celebrated with different themes in order to end and fight early and forced marriage for the girl child, eliminate gender based inequalities and create awareness towards injustice they encounter in social life.

On the international day of the girl child this year, the theme of the conference, that will be held in cooperation with the UNICEF, UN and UNFPA, is determined as "Girls as Agents of Social Change in the 21st Century".

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets the goal "Achieve gender equality and empower women’s and girls’ social positions" to empower girls for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

In Turkey, freedom from violence should be guaranteed for girls to realize their potential. Turkish Statistical Institute, data on girl child for the year 2016 is as following:

  • 26.039 girls were registered as victims  of physical injury
  • 14.671 girls were registered as victims of sexual assault 
  • 2.986 girls were registered as threat victims
  • 1.367 girls were registered as insult victims
  • 1.683 girls were registered as theft victims
  • 4.718 girls were victims of crimes against family order
  • 117 girls were registered as cyber crime victims.

According to criminal statistics, number of children who came or brought to security forces in 2016 has increased by 10% compared to 2015 and became 333,435.

34.6% of children who came or brought to security forces were girls in 2016.

Turkey has agreed following recommendations of the 2016 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) regarding the rights of asylum seeker and refugee girls in Turkey:

(a) Ensure access by refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls to education, training and livelihood opportunities and health care;

(b) Provide capacity-building programs for law enforcement authorities on the strict application of the State party’s laws, including international conventions to which the State is a party, to cases of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, against refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls;

(c) Ensure that refugees and asylum seekers, in particular women, are informed about the national referral mechanisms for victims of sexual and gender-based violence and how to gain access to the formal justice mechanism.

Education right should also be guaranteed for girls to realize their potential. Supporting girls to live by making difference in their own lives is of utmost importance. This should be ensured by guaranteeing their employment life, in addition to enhancing education life.

International Children's Center, Bilkent University, Main Campus, Library Building, 06800, Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey
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