Yazici: Government acting slowly in child abuse in Pozanti prison case

Human Rights Association (IHD) Mersin branch executive Sami Yazici spoke about the recent developments concerning undenied allegations of sexual and psychological abuse against children in Pozanti Juvenile Prison.

Yazici remarked that the steps taken by the government about the matter are insufficient and temporary.

The investigation and efforts by government officials don’t offer a permanent solution to the situation of jailed children, underlined Yazici and said the followings;

“Although we have made every effort to bring the matter to the agenda since April of 2011 when we first received applications of around 10 children who had been released from this prison, the interest in the subject has emerged only when the issue was reflected to the mainstream media in the most recent process. Following the applications of these children who told about what jailed children go through there we met the authorities of the prison and prepared reports on the situation of the jailed children in Pozanti Prison. However, we didn’t receive an answer to the applications we made to relevant authorities in July of the previous year. The attention paid to the subject by the mainstream media has pushed authorities to find a solution to the problem.”

Yazici pointed out that the transfer of the children to another prison doesn’t create a solution for the trauma of the jailed children and noted that the families who will live material and emotional difficulties in seeing their children after their transfer to Ankara perceive the replacement of their children as an exile and punishment of themselves, not of the authorities responsible for the trauma that children have suffered from.

Yazici added that; “The imprisonment conditions in Sincan Prison in Ankara don’t promise a better and healthier environment to children as they will be held in one-person cells, which means isolation. These children, victims of TMK (anti-terror law), are supposed to be at schools, not in prisons. The children of the Kurdish people in general experience a great trauma both inside and outside the prison because of the deadlock in Kurdish issue. They throw stone because they demand their rights. They object to being exposed to unlawful practices and attacks of security forces. However, their reaction and acts end up in prison. This is a result of the solutionlessness in the Kurdish problem, not a matter related to jailed children themselves. They will always face the same as long as the Kurdish issue remains unsolved.”

Yazici pointed out that the trauma of these children becomes greater when they are put in prison where-he said- they are subject to different kinds of abuses, including sexual and psychological.

“We demand that children shouldn’t be put in prison. However, now that hundreds of children are held in prisons, we demand that they should be provided with all kinds of opportunities, including psychological supervision and consultation services. The environment of prisons for children should be changed into reform schools to reintroduce these children to society”, said Yazici.

IHD Executive Sami Yazici also underlined that the matter of abuse against jailed children isn’t the problem of Pozanti Prison alone, noting that the same sensibility and interest on the subject should be displayed towards the problems of all jailed children in all prisons. Yazici remarked that they received similar applications from other prisons in the region as well and added the followings;

“The problem of jailed children will not be solved by finding temporary solutions for the issues that have been brought to the agenda only in the recent term. There is a need for a permanent and long-term solution to settle the matter of TMK victim children. The events in Pozanti Prison are neither the first nor the last example to what these children go through. Solution doesn’t lie in dismissing prison officials or transferring children to another prison far from their families”, said Yazici and underlined that they will not give up monitoring the situation and problems of all jailed children who are held in prisons as victims of the state’s fight against terror.

Arresting children and people will not serve to bringing an end to the long lasting Kurdish problem, added Yazici.

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