Van Bommel asks UNICEF Ambassadors for support for freeing of Kurdish children

18 June 2010

Van Bommel asks UNICEF Ambassadors for support for freeing of Kurdish children

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is supporting the international call for the freeing of around 2700 Kurdish children held in Turkish prisons. In a series of parliamentary questions to Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, Van Bommel asks him to put pressure on Turkey to abide by the International Treaty on the Rights of the Child. In a direct call to Dutch UNICEF ambassadors actress Monique van der Ven and cabaret artist Paul van Vliet, the SP spokesman on international affairs called on the two to support the international action.

An estimated 2700 Kurdish children, most of them arrested during demonstrations, have been imprisoned on the basis of the Law to Combat Terror, while a further 7,000 await trial. Prison sentences of six years or longer are in prospect, and in Turkey activists for children's' rights are urging the Turkish parliament to bring in an amendment to the law, before the summer recess, to ensure that the children are freed. The Swedish human rights organisation Kurdocide Watch-CHAK this week decided to ask UNICEF to add its voice to these calls as there seems no end in sight to this appalling situation.

Harry van Bommel"Haste is essential and an international action could speed up the freeing of these children. Last year Maxime Verhagen justly expressed criticism of the fact that Turkey had subordinated the Treaty on the Rights of the Child to its anti-terror legislation. Now that ever more children are being locked up, the minister must not hold his tongue. In addition I hope, of course, that Monique van de Ven and Paul van Vliet will support the action.”

With the bringing in of the Law to Combat Terror in 2006, Turkey acted in conflict with the International Treaty on the Rights of the Child, which states that children must be dealt with under juvenile law. Only in the most exceptional cases is it permitted to imprison children and in such cases contact must be possible between the children and their parents. Turkey does not fulfil these conditions, in the opinion of defenders of human rights, as well as which the children's' treatment in prison is unacceptable. At the beginning of May children in Diyarbakir jail revolted in protest at poor medical care.

You are here