IPA Fundamental Rights – Newsletter 3

Stronger Together: Our Solidarity Efforts After the Earthquake

In the early hours of February 6, a devastating earthquake struck 11 provinces in Türkiye, resulting in the loss of over 50,000 lives, with the number of affected citizens at over 13 million.

After the earthquake disaster, many countries, including the EU member states, the EU and international organizations came together in solidarity to support our country. We witnessed the extraordinary efforts of Turkish and foreign search and rescue teams and miraculous survivals.

On March 20, 2023, the International Donors’ Conference was organised in Brussels by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the EU Council.A total of 6.05 billion euro in grants and loans were pledged at the conference.

Furthermore, unutilised funds under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA-II) were reallocated to earthquake related interventions.

Women and children were the worst affected by the earthquake. As the Lead Institution in the field of fundamental rights, we designed two new projects specifically for women and children.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Family and Social Services, the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, UNICEF, and UN Women, our new projects focus on improving services provided to women and children in the earthquake region.

Within this scope, our planned activities include the reconstruction, strengthening, and renovation of women’s shelters, the establishment of social service infrastructure for children, and setting up mobile teams for legal aid.

We continue to make progress in our projects in collaboration with the EU Delegation to Türkiye.

IPA Fundamental Rights Sector Coordination Project Turns 1!

As the Lead Institution, we have successfully completed the first year of our project, which aims to support the protection and improvement of fundamental rights. By enhancing institutional coordination and collaboration among our stakeholders, we will continue working together to make the IPA Fundamental Rights sector more effective.

We Are Now Implementing Our Sector Coordination Platform

We have started our thematic meetings within the framework of the Fundamental Rights Sector Coordination Platform, which is the most important outcome of our project. So far, we have conducted meetings in 8 out of the 10 thematic areas identified in our project.

During these meetings, which were attended by public institutions, international organisations, and relevant NGOs, we shared information about the priorities and current developments in the thematic areas. We discussed institutional capacity needs and collaboration opportunities related to these priorities. Additionally, we explored project ideas aimed at strengthening and improving the respective thematic areas.

Through these inclusive meetings in the field of fundamental rights, we got the opportunity to consult with 213 individuals from 19 stakeholder institutions on various topics related to fundamental rights.

The thematic meetings conducted so far are as follows:

  • Women’s Rights | January 13, 2023
  • Freedom of Expression and Information | January 27, 2023
  • Children’s Rights | February 3, 2023
  • Rights of Persons with Disabilities | March 16, 2023
  • Anti-Discrimination and Institutionalization of Human Rights | March 31, 2023
  • Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment | April 4, 2023
  • Freedom of Assembly and Association | April 7, 2023

We will complete our thematic meetings on Digital Rights and Horizontal Issues in the fall and then organise a large-scale Sector Coordination Meeting.

Our Second Study Visit Completed!

The study visit to Vilnius, Lithuania was organised by the Directorate for EU Affairs between May 1-4, 2023 within the scope of the Project for Strengthening Fundamental Rights Sector Coordination. 12 representatives from 6 institutions working in the field of human rights participated in the visit.

The mandate of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), Türkiye’s inclusion in the Gender Equality Index published by the EIGE and possible areas of cooperation were discussed in the study visit, and  meetings were held with the Lithuanian Equal Opportunities Ombudsman’s Office, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social Security and Labour, and Ministry of Justice. Additionally, a courtesy visit was paid to the Turkish Embassy in Vilnius.

Following the visit, projected collaborations were initiated especially with EIGE. Mutual contact points were shared, and the Turkish Statistical Institute provided information regarding Türkiye’s participation in EIGE’s Gender Equality Index. Türkiye was represented in the EIGE’s 15th Regional Coordination Meeting on Gender Equality and Green Deal themes held on May 31 for candidate and potential candidate countries, and the representative from EIGE contributed to the thematic training on horizontal issues.

Workshop on the Protection of Personal Data for Member of Judiciary and Law Enforcement Conducted

The Workshop on the Protection of Personal Data was held on June 16, 2023, with the participation of Daniel Drewer, Data Protection Officer at Europol. The members of judiciary and law enforcement officials discussed various case studies in the training.

During the workshop, information was provided on the procedures to be followed in the processing of personal data by law enforcement and judicial personnel, as well as the technical and administrative measures that may be taken to protect personal data. The role of data protection officers working in law enforcement and judiciary was also discussed.

Our Thematic Trainings Have Been Completed!

We Reached 1000 People Through 10 Thematic Trainings!

We are strengthening the capacity of public institutions regarding the EU acquis on fundamental rights. In 10 different thematic areas for training, we have reached 1,077 participants, including 666 women and 411 men.

In the initial phase  of our two-part trainings, Council of Europe standards, and good practices in EU member states in the respective rights area. We also discuss the strategies and policy documents of the EU and the studies of international organisations such as the Council of Europe and the UN.

In the second phase of the trainings, needs are discussed, and projects are developed based on the identified needs. Participants are provided with information on project design and gain experience regarding this main requirement of the IPA process.

The Thematic Trainings are:

  • Freedom of Expression and Information Thematic Training
  • Women’s Rights Thematic Training
  • Children’s Rights Thematic Training
  • Anti-Discrimination Thematic Training
  • Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment Thematic Training
  • Disability Rights Thematic Training
  • Institutionalization of Human Rights Thematic Training
  • Freedom of Assembly and Association Thematic Training
  • Horizontal Issues Themes Thematic Training
  • Digital Rights Thematic Training

Horizontal Issues in Fundamental Rights Were Adressed!

As part of the capacity building activities of the Fundamental Rights Project, “Horizontal Issues Thematic Training” was held in 5 sessions with the participation of stakeholder institutions on June 6-7-8. The training focused on environment and climate change, business and human rights, civil society and the rights-based approach, disaster risk reduction in the context of fundamental rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. The training was attended by 153 people, 99 women and 54 men from 23 different stakeholder institutions.

International organisations and EU Agencies also took part in the sessions. Representatives of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) participated in the sessions on “Environment and Climate Change”, “Business and Human Rights” and “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” and provided information on CoE standards and ECtHR case law in these areas. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) participated in the “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” session and delivered a presentation on EIGE’s mandate.

In the first session of the training, Natalia Kobylarz, lawyer at the ECtHR and Lawyer Dr. Fevzi Özlüer presented  on Environment and Climate Change. Speakers in the second session titled Business and Human Rights were Lawyer  Dr. Çiğdem Çımrın, Co-Founder and President of the Business and Human Rights Association (Minerva), and Natalia Vorobyeva, lawyer at the ECtHR.

In the third session, Civil Society Expert Simon Forrester gave information on “Civil Society and the Rights Based Approach”, while in the fourth session Şeyda Sever talked about prioritization of fundamental rights in “Disaster Risk Reduction Process”.

The last session was dedicated to gender equality. Mustafa Çadır, UN Women Project Manager, provided information on the fundamental documents and policies of the United Nations on gender equality mainstreaming; while Milana Lazic, Representative of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), provided information on the mandate and activities of the EIGE, and Caterina Bolognese, Head of the Gender Equality Section of the CoE, provided information on the gender equality regulations of the CoE.

Project Steering and Management Committee Meetings Continue!

We continued to exchange opinions with project stakeholders in the Steering Committee and Management Committee meetings held for the coordination of project activities and planning for the upcoming period.

The second and third Management Committee meetings were held on December 15, 2022 and June 19, 2023 respectively. During the meetings, representatives of the Delegation of the EU  to Türkiye and the Central Finance and Contracts Unit exchanged views on the progress made in the second six months of the project and the activities in the upcoming period.

The Third Steering Committee Meeting of our project was held on March 24, 2023. In the meeting hosted by the Directorate for EU Affairs, with the participation of representatives from project stakeholders and civil society organisations, views were exchanged on the activities carried out under the project between October 2022 – March 2023, as well as the implementation for the next six months.

See What's New on Our Website!

There are new features on our website where we provide information about our project and share developments. IPA II Fundamental Rights Projects have been added to the website. You can find detailed information about the projects. At the same time, the English version of our website is now online. All developments and detailed information about our project will now be available in English.

News from IPA Fundamental Rights

ROMSID Project Finalized

The closing meeting of the Establishing Strong Monitoring, Evaluation and Coordination Mechanism for National Roma Integration Strategy  (ROMSID) Project was held on February 2, 2023 in Ankara.

The project established a monitoring and evaluation framework as well as an IT-based monitoring system for the effective monitoring of the Strategy Document for Roma Citizens. The system will contribute to the more effective monitoring of the implementation of the new Strategy Paper for Roma Citizens through trainings and prepared documents.

The project also developed a Cooperation and Coordination Plan to ensure effective coordination among stakeholders for the monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy Document. Click here to watch the informative video on the Roma Action Plan Monitoring Platform, the most important output of the project.

You can watch the informative video on the Roma Action Plan Monitoring Platform, the most important output of the project, here.

Project for Capacity Building for Lawyers and Bar Associations on the Promotion, Protection and Monitoring of Children's Rights Begins

The Capacity Building for Lawyers and Bar Associations on the Promotion, Protection and Monitoring of Children’s Rights Project started in March. The project, implemented by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations in cooperation with UNICEF, aims to promote and protect children’s rights in Türkiye in line with international standards and to enhance the capacity of bar associations and lawyers on children’s rights.

We are Working on Raising Standards in Women's Prisons

We focused on women’s prisons in 2023 programming. In the project titled “Strengthening Conditions and Women’s Rights in Women’s Prisons in line with International and EU Standards” to be carried out by the Ministry of Justice and the Council of Europe, activities will be carried out to accelerate the social reintegration of women in prisons.

The project will also provide trainings to strengthen the capacity of Prisons and Detention Houses staff.

The project, which will provide both technical support and vocational training workshops, will be implemented in 2024.

Technical Assistance Project for the Ombudsman Institution Finalized Successfully!

The closing meeting of the Technical Assistance Project for Strengthening the Role of the Ombudsman Institution in the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights was held on May 4, 2023 in Ankara. Under the project, activities were carried out to improve the capacity of the Ombudsman Institution staff and to increase the public awareness on the ombudsman’s mandate and functioning.

In this context, a Human Resources Development Strategy was prepared, which will enable the institution to invest in human resources in the short, medium and long term, and a comprehensive training programme was carried out for the institution’s staff.

250 members of staff of the institution benefited from the 10-module training programme on women’s rights, children’s rights and human rights protection mechanisms to which Türkiye is party. Study visits were organised to EU member states to obtain first-hand information on good practices; 15 staff members participated in a one-month placement in international organisations working in the field of fundamental rights, particularly in the ombudsman offices of EU member states, to share knowledge and experience and to examine practices on location.

Awareness of the role of the Ombudsman Institution was raised and a culture of rights seeking among citizens was developed through the National Conference on “Youth’s Rights Seeking Culture ” and 16 regional conferences. International conferences hosted representatives of ombudsman and human rights institutions from 60 different countries and shared information and experiences on “Good Governance Principles and Ombudsmanship”, “Migration and Human Rights” and “Future of Human Rights in the 21st Century”.

The Visibility, Communication and Public Relations Strategy to be implemented by the Ombudsman’s Office and other outputs aim to ensure the sustainability of the Project.

Recent Developments on Fundamental Rights in the EU

EU Adopts the Pay Transparency Directive

The Directive, which was adopted to close the gender pay gap and combat pay discrimination, lays down minimum requirements to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women.

The Directive obliges companies in EU member states to share information on how much they pay men and women for work of equal value and to take action if their gender pay gap exceeds 5%.

The Directive also regulates that companies with more than 250 employees are required to report annually on the gender pay gap in their organisation to the relevant national authority and includes provisions on compensation for victims of wage discrimination and fines for employers who violate the rules.

The European Council Adopts Decision About EU’s Accession To The CoE Convention On Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence

The European Council has adopted two decisions with regard to the EU’s accession to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence at its meeting on June 1. European Council Conclusions 2023/1075 and 2023/1076 were adopted.

The signed instrument of accession will be deposited with the Council of Europe upon the entry into force of these Council Conclusions. The Convention will enter into force for the European Union on the first day of the month following a three-month period after the date of deposition of the instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. The Convention will then become a part of the EU acquis.

The European Commission Publishes 2023 Report on Gender Equality in the EU

The 2023 Report on Gender Equality in the EU discusses the progress made by the EU and its member states on gender equality. The report evaluates both EU institutions and member states in the five key areas covered the EU’s Gender Equality Strategy.

The five areas are (1) Being free from violence and stereotypes; (2) Thriving in a gender-equal economy; (3) Leading equally throughout society; (4) Gender mainstreaming and funding; (5) Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment across the world.

The report also includes inspiring examples and achievements from the EU member states and EU-financed projects in these areas.

EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Releases the Roma Survey

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has published data from its 2021 study of Roma people living in EU member states Croatia, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain, as well as candidate countries North Macedonia and Serbia.

The survey, conducted in the form of a questionnaire with more than 8,000 Roma people, provides data that are not available in European general population surveys or not disaggregated on grounds of ethnic origin in other studies.

The study discusses issues such as  discrimination, exposure to harassment and violence, poverty, social exclusion, reporting of discrimination, awareness of rights and trust in public institutions, education, employment, health and housing.

Directive on Enhancing Information Exchange and Cooperation in Combating Transnational Crime Published

The Directive, which was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 22 May 2023, enacts harmonised rules for the adequate and rapid exchange of information between the competent law enforcement authorities of EU member states for the purpose of preventing, detecting or investigating criminal offences.

The Directive ensures mutual access to information by national law enforcement authorities of EU member states and seeks to improve the functioning of “Single Points of Contact” for continuous and rapid information exchange on 24/7 basis through Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA), managed by Europol. The new regulations will facilitate the secure exchange of information with the aim of ensuring effective cooperation between authorities.

The European Commission Publishes “Media Literacy Guidelines”

The Media Literacy Guidelines was published by the European Commission on 21 February 2023 to assist EU member states in the reporting process and sharing good practices on media literacy.

The Guidelines aims to enable citizens of all ages to navigate the modern news environment, take informed decisions, counter the effects of disinformation campaigns and fake news spread through digital media.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Published 2023 Fundamental Rights Report

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has released its 2023 Fundamental Rights Report in June. In its report, the FRA reviews major developments in 2022 and the fundamental rights implications for the EU of the war in Ukraine.

The report identifies both achievements and areas of concern regarding: the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights at the member-state level; the ban on discrimination; racism and related intolerance; Roma equality and inclusion; asylum, borders and migration; data protection; child rights; victims’ rights  and access to justice; and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The FRA report also aims to provide guidance to the EU and its members on developing and improving relevant policies through discussing success stories and problematic areas.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Publishes Report On Victims’ Rights

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has released a new report titled “Underpinning Victims’ Rights” in February. The report focuses on three areas that are essential to the effective implementation of the Victims’ Rights Directive in practice which are support services, protection of victims from secondary and repeat victimisation, and crime reporting by victims.

In its report,  the FRA underlines the need to improve and facilitate the reporting of crime and establishment of an efficient complaints system.

Upcoming Events


© 2022 IPA FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, All rights reserved.



If you want to change the way you receive these emails, you can unsubscribe.