Ms Milena Buyum, Campaigner on Turkey for Amnesty International
Ms Fatma Unsal, ‘Justice for Children Initiative
Aygul Erce, singer-song writer
Film Screening
‘Taslanan Vicdanlar/Brutal Consciences’ by Cenk Örtülü & Zeynel Koç Turkish and Kurdish with English subtitles, Running time 50 minutes.
Date and time: 24 June 2010,@ 6:00
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Organised by Kurdish society at SOAS(KSSOAS), Kurdish Studies and Student Organisation (KSSO) and Britain Peace Council (MECLISA AŞITIYA BRITANYA’YE – BRITANYA BARIŞ MECLISI)
Seminar abstract and program
We are deeply concerned about the routine and systematic beating, ill-treatment and imprisonment of Kurdish children in Turkey. According to Amnesty International’s newly published report, “since 2006, thousands of children in Turkey, some as young as 12, have been prosecuted under anti-terrorism legislation solely for their alleged participation in demonstrations”.
Children aged 10-18 are being detained, interrogated and tried under the same conditions as adults. As a consequence, some are sentenced and jailed for 5  to 10  years under the anti-terror law. The children are accused of participating in street protests, doing the victory sign, shouting slogans, throwing stones at the Turkish police or singing Kurdish songs.
Children have been forced to make statements in adult courts without their lawyers or social workers present. They have been imprisoned in adult prisons and were deprived of their rights to education. Moreover children have been deported to other prisons far from their families so their families have difficulties regularly visiting them.
Reports about this mistreatment of children have caused an outcry amongst Kurdish communities and the international public. Families of the children, Kurdish and Turkish civil organisations, human rights organisations and intellectuals have called on the Turkish government to release children and abandon discriminatory laws against the Kurdish ethnic minority, especially towards Kurdish children. The human rights group Justice for Children Initiative has begun a campaign to force the Turkish government to find a solution for the imprisoned children before the Turkish parliament goes on summer holiday.
Turkey is a signatory to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and has a duty to protect the rights of all children. Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child bans discrimination against children. It states that “Within the jurisdictions and authorities bestowed upon them, Signatory States of this convention recognise and guarantee the rights defined in this Convention to all children without any discrimination based on the children’s, their parents’ or guardians’ race, colour, gender, language, political or otherwise opinions, national, ethnic or social background, property, disability, birthright or any other status.”
We have invited Ms Milena Buyum, campaigner on Turkey for Amnesty International to talk about Amnesty International research and report on imprisoned Kurdish children. Ms Fatma Unsal, of from ‘Justice for Children Initiative’ (ÇİAÇ) will talk about ‘Justice for Children Initiative’ newly announced campaign to force the Turkish government to stop these policies towards Kurdish children.
Aygul Erge, singer-song writer who has composed a song titled “Dayê Min Bifiltîne/ My mum rescue me” on imprisoned Kurdish children will sing before starting the seminar.
We will screen the film ‘Taslanan Vicdanlar/Brutal Consciences’ by Cenk Örtülü & Zeynel Koç (running time 50 minutes). The film focuses on imprisoned Kurdish children who are subjected to the Turkish state’s physical and psychological violence.
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