A report by human rights defender and opposition deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu has revealed that at least 27 children were killed and 160 more were subjected to sexual abuse in Turkey in the first 10 months of 2021, the ANKA news agency reported on Saturday.
Tanrıkulu, a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker who also serves as deputy chairman of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, on Saturday released the report on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day.
Universal Children’s Day is marked on Nov. 20, the day in 1959 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and also when it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
Turkey signed the convention in 1990 and enacted it in 1995, reserving the right to interpret and apply the provisions of Articles 17, 29 and 30 regarding children’s access to information, children’s education and ethnic minority children’s right to use their own language, according to the Turkish Constitution and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.
The report also said there were 1,596 children between the ages of 12 and 18 behind bars, with 1,170 of them under arrest and the remaining 426 convicted of a crime, according to the latest data from the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses (CTE).
Based on statistics from human rights organizations, the report stated that at least 23 minors were subjected to torture or ill-treatment by security forces in detention or during interventions in protests, in the first 10 months of 2021.
Cases of child sexual abuse have hit record levels in Turkey in recent years, with 22,689 child abuse cases launched in 2019, a significant increase over the 18,209 in 2018, statistics from Turkey’s Ministry of Justice showed.
However, this increase was accompanied by a drop in the number of convictions handed down by the courts. According to the ministry data, the number of rulings including convictions dropped from 59.6 percent of cases filed to 55 percent in the same year.
Tanrıkulu also noted, citing data from a 2019 report drafted by the İstanbul branch of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD), that a total of 440,000 children under the age of 18 had given birth in Turkey in a period of 16 years.