Recent reports from the Journalist and Writers Foundation in Turkey and the Stockholm Center for Freedom have estimated the number of women in Turkish prisons is a staggering 17,000 along with over 660 children. Official records indicate that 23 percent of these children are infants less than a year old. Dr. Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society (a British foreign policy think tank) said “prison is no place for children in any civilized country”.
These reports have questioned the basis for the detainment and imprisonment of these women, as well as the timing of their arrests, in some cases shortly after giving birth. Many of these women have been held without charges being pressed and without access to legal representation, and in some cases, access to their family.
Reports from within Turkey have shown images of security officials waiting outside hospital rooms for mothers to be discharged in order to detain them and their newborn children. With the critical need of preventing bacteria during a child’s first months, questions about the conditions of the prisons where these women are held with their newborn children have also arisen in numerous media reports. Since “extra food, books, phone calls, trips to the hospital, and bathroom supplies are all added to inmates’ prison bills” some women with poor financial situation cannot afford basic hygienic items such as sanitary pads (which they are not provided).
The prison conditions are not satisfactory for the well being of women, and especially children. They are forced to stay in overcrowded rooms, denied health care, missing fresh air and have to share bed and meal.
Many inmates sleep on the floor. Human Rights Association (IHD) has stated that in Turkey, 1025 prisoners are in poor health, 357 of which are seriously ill. Nonetheless, at a parliamentary hearing, it was revealed that at least five women have suspiciously died at the women’s prison in Kocaeli’s Gebze district .
We wholeheartedly condemn this violation of basic human rights of not only the imprisoned women but also these children who are being subjected to a life behind bars without cause.
Read AST’s report on women and children in prison:
AST_1-28-18_REPORT4_WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK IN TURKEY
Download AST’s presentation on women and children in prison:
Download AST’s newsletter on women and children in prison:
News and reports on women and children in prison:
We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement below to following addresses:
1. Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau
2. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Chrystia Freeland
3. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, Ahmed D. Hussen
4. Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee of Canada, Robert D. Nault
5. Justice and Human Rights Committee of Canada, Anthony Housefather
6. Embassy of Canada to Turkey in Ankara
Download sample statement as a word document: