IPA Fundamental Rights – Newsletter 5

We Have Come to the End of Our Project!

We have come to the end of our journey on the path to ensuring stronger protection for fundamental rights and freedoms and to raise the fundamental rights standards of our country without leaving any of our citizens behind!

We would like to express our appreciation to all public institutions, all our participants, trainers, project experts and technical assistance team who accompanied us in the flight of the dandelion.

We are leaving behind an intensive implementation period of our project, which we carried out for 28 months within the framework of three components in close cooperation with approximately 40 institutions working in the field of Fundamental Rights. We reached out to 1824 participants in 39 trainings and workshops, and 1271 participants in 31 meetings and seminars.

In the thematic areas of our project, we produced comparative studies, factsheets, guides, handbooks, infographics and introductory documents on sectoral projects. We created a Resource Centre, providing access to reference documents on thematic areas of Fundamental Rights. We reached out to about 4,000 followers and 1.3 million people through our social media.

With the experience gained from our project and the support of our organisations, we will continue to work together for fundamental rights.

Strengthening Fundamental Rights Sector Coordination Project Closing Event Took Place

The closing event for the Strengthening Fundamental Rights Sector Coordination Project was hosted by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs Ambassador Mehmet Kemal Bozay on 10 May 2024 at CSO Ada Ankara.

The closing event, attended by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Türkiye, Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, brought together representatives of the Directorate for EU Affairs, the EU Delegation to Türkiye, public institutions, civil society organisations and international organisations.

A panel discussion on ‘Priority Areas and Sustainability Recommendations for Strengthening Fundamental Rights Sector Coordination’ was also organised under the moderation of the Directorate for EU Affairs.

After the reception following the closing speeches, the guests attended the Europe Day Concert organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate for EU Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO) as part of the EU Communication Strategy.

Completed Project Activities

We Worked on Disaster Management Responsive to Fundamental Rights and Gender Equality

Following the earthquakes in 2023, the Strengthening Fundamental Rights Sector Coordination Project was extended to carry out activities on Disaster Management and Disaster Risk Reduction Responsive to Fundamental Rights and Gender Equality.

On 26 January 2024, a meeting was held with the project stakeholders and an intensive schedule for the extension period activities was set.

During the four-month period, important collaborations took place, resulting in significant efforts.

Focus Group Discussions

Two separate focus group discussions were held on 8 and 23 February, to identify national and international policies and strategies that address disaster risk reduction approaches and activities from the perspective of fundamental rights.

Thanks to the meetings, we benefited from the experience and knowledge of our prominent institutions such as AFAD and the Red Crescent, international organisations and civil society on disasters in addition to our stakeholders in fundamental rights.

The issues noted in the meetings were reflected in a mapping exercise.

The Guide and Checklist on Disaster Management Responsive to Fundamental Rights and Gender Equality

The Guide and Checklist on Disaster Management Responsive to Fundamental Rights and Gender Equality was based on a review of international humanitarian standards, national strategies and action plans, as well as feedback from disaster and emergency actors in focus group discussions held as part of the project.

In the first part of the Guide, the main principles, policy- and strategy-level and cross-cutting issues in disaster management are highlighted.

In the second part, activities for integrating the perspective of women, children, elderly and disability rights at every stage of disaster management are addressed.

In the checklists of the Guide, a user-friendly approach was adopted by providing an extensive list of verification questions for key activities for all work areas in terms of vulnerable groups.

Trainings on Disaster Management Responsive to Fundamental Rights and Gender Equality

Trainings on Disaster Management Responsive to Fundamental Rights and Gender Equality took place on 25-26 April, 2-3 May, and 7-8 May.

District Governors, Deputy Governors, AFAD provincial organisation officials, central and provincial organisation officials of the Ministry of Family and Social Services, representatives from relevant public institutions, municipalities and civil society organisations from different provinces took part in the trainings.

In the trainings, information on human rights based disaster risk reduction approaches and international frameworks and standards was provided and the importance of continuity of fundamental rights and services in disaster risk reduction activities and increasing social resilience from the perspective of vulnerable groups were emphasised.

Awareness-Raising Seminar on Disaster Management Responsive to Fundamental Rights and Gender Equality

Stakeholders of the Fundamental Rights Sector met at the Awareness-Raising Seminar on Disaster Management Responsive to Fundamental Rights and Gender Equality held on 29-30 April 2024.

In the seminar attended by 133 participants from 17 organisations, representatives of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, European Commission Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies made presentations on International Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai Framework, Involvement of Stakeholders in Disaster Risk Reduction Processes, Disaster Resilience Goals and Inclusion Principles and Protection of Rights of Vulnerable Groups-Country Experiences. In addition, a panel on ‘Understanding Vulnerabilities and Involving Those Most at Risk, the Case of Türkiye’ was organised.

IPA Fundamental Rights Study Visit

A study visit to Belgium was carried out from 4 to 7 March 2024. 15 representatives from 6 institutions took part in the visit.

On the first day of the study visit, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the European Commission Joint Research Centre were visited, while on the second day, the European Commission Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and the Red Cross EU Office were visited.

During the meetings, views on fundamental rights and gender equality, disaster management and disaster risk reduction were exchanged and cooperation opportunities were discussed.

Workshops were Held on Strategy and Action Plans and Fundamental Rights

The Workshop on Preparation and Implementation of Strategy and Action Plans in Fundamental Rights was held from 27 to 29 February with the participation of public institutions and organisations working in the field of fundamental rights.

In the workshop, where the Strategy Development Toolkit prepared as part of our project was introduced and practical activities took place, representatives of international organisations operating in the sector, such as UN Women, Council of Europe and UNICEF shared their experiences on strategy development on fundamental rights.

The Workshop on the Preparation of Strategy and Action Documents Responsive to Fundamental Rights was held on 1 March with the participation of institutions and organisations from sectors other than fundamental rights. During the workshop, views were exchanged on the consideration of fundamental rights as a horizontal area in different sectoral strategies and action plans.

Online Meetings Took Place with International Organisations

As part of our project, online meetings were held with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on 25 January, with the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights on 31 January and with the Council of Europe on 19 February.

During the meetings, information was shared by international organisations on issues within their fields of activity and cooperation opportunities with Türkiye were discussed.

Public institutions showed great interest in the meetings and 228 people attended the meetings.

News from IPA Fundamental Rights

68th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Hosted Side Event Titled “Gender Responsive Budgeting as a Transformative Approach Towards an Inclusive and Equitable Society”

The 68th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women hosted a side event titled “Gender Responsive Budgeting as a Transformative Approach Towards an Inclusive and Equitable Society”. The side event was organised by the Ministry of Family and Social Services in cooperation with Albania and UN Women.

In the event, “Implementing Gender-Responsive Planning and Budgeting in Türkiye Project” under the IPA Fundamental Rights Sub-Field was presented as a best practice with a focus on the activities carried out at both the central and local level.

Strategy Document and Action Plan for Gender Responsive Planning and Budgeting was Prepared

Strategy Document and Action Plan prepared within the scope of the “Implementing Gender-Responsive Planning and Budgeting in Türkiye Project” were introduced at the 2024 meeting of the Advisory Board.

16 strategies and 56 actions in defining, planning-budgeting, implementation and monitoring-auditing stages is included in the Strategy Document and Action Plan for Gender Responsive Planning and Budgeting which will be implemented between 2024 and 2028.

Preparations for the Projects Targeting the Effects of Earthquake Continue!

The preparation of the projects that we prepared for women and children affected by the earthquake, in cooperation with the Ministry of Family and Social Services, the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, UNICEF and UN Women, has come to an end.

Contract documents for two projects worth a total of 28.5 million euros have been submitted to the contracting authority and preparations to sign the documents are continuing.

Projects involves activities such as reconstruction, strengthening and renovation of women’s shelters; deployment of social service infrastructure for children and establishing mobile teams for legal aid.

Turkish Constitutional Court Continues to Raise Awareness on Fundamental Rights

The activities of “Supporting the Effective Implementation of the Provisions of the Turkish Constitutional Court in the Field of Human Rights” project continues with a dense agenda.

Within the scope of the trainings   on “Individual Application Procedure to the Constitutional Court” organized for bar associations; sessions were held in Muş Bar Association (1-2 March), in Aksaray Bar Association (8-9 March), in Ankara Bar Association (15-16 March), in Adana Bar Association (19-20 April), in Izmir Bar Association (3-4 May) and in Sinop Bar Association (3-4 March).

Other activities organized involves; Workshop on Combating Violence Against Women in the Light of the Constitutional Court Judgements in Ankara on 6-7 February 2024, Training of Trainers on the Right to a Fair Trial on 21-24 February 2024, and an Individual Application Seminar to the Constitutional Court at Akdeniz University Faculty of Law on 22 February 2024.

Round Table meetings continued with the meeting held in Ankara on 29 March 2024.

Turkish Bar Associations Continue Their Work in the Field of Children's Rights

The activities of the “Improving the Capacity of Lawyers and Bar Associations on Promotion, Protection and Monitoring of Children’s Rights” project, financed under 2020 Programming of the Fundamental Rights Sector, continues.

The project is implemented by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Symposium on “Access to Justice for Vulnerable Groups in Disasters” held in Adana on 19-20 April 2024.

The symposium provided a platform for the discussions on challenges faced in legal aid, facilitating access to justice, psycho-social support for vulnerable groups, child protection mechanisms, prevention of child abuse and field experiences regarding the 2023 earthquakes.

Current Developments on Fundamental Rights in the EU

EU Adopted the Directive on Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence

Directive sets measures to combat violence against women and domestic violence and standards for the protection of victims of these crimes. It is the first law in the EU concerning this issue.

Directive criminalizes female genital mutilation, forced marriage, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, cyber stalking, cyber harassment and cyber incitement to hatred or violence and it is foreseen that these crimes will be punishable by prison sentences ranging from at least one to five years.

The directive also includes aggravating circumstances and detailed rules regarding the assistance and protection measures that must be provided to victims.

Member states have three years from the entry into force of the directive to transpose it into national law.

European Commission Adopted the Recommendation on Developing and Strengthening Integrated Child Protection Systems in the Best Interests of the Child

The Recommendation adopted on strengthening and developing integrated child protection systems, a commitment in the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, aims to provide support to member states in strengthening their child protection systems.

Recommendation includes key elements such as establishment of a general framework for integrated child protection systems, supporting member states in adapting their systems to protect any child from any form of violence, responding to children’s safety needs online and offline and prompting member states to adopt an integrated approach to protect children in their external action.

Two New Directives to Strengthen the Role of Equality Bodies Across the EU was Adopted

Directives, adopted on 7 May 2024, are the first binding EU legislation that include minimum standards for equality bodies across the EU.

Two new directives, which include similar minimum standards although the area that they regulate differs from each other, establish common EU-wide minimum requirements for equality bodies established to promote equal treatment, combat discrimination and offer assistance to victims.

After the publication of the directives in the EU’s Official Journal, member states will have two years to adapt their national legislation to the provisions of the directives.

European Media Freedom Act Published in the EU’s Official Journal

The European Media Freedom Act is the first EU Regulation to protect media independence and pluralism, and introduces safeguards to combat political interference in editorial decisions and to protect journalists.

The act includes common rules for media services in order to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, and establishes “European Board for Media Services” to monitor the implementation of the rules within the scope of the act.

Council of the EU Approved Conclusions on the Priorities of the EU in United Nations Human Rights Fora

In the statement published on 22 January 2024, the Council reaffirms the EU’s commitment to human rights, multilateralism and the international criminal justice system in the current fraught international environment.

The statement reaffirmed the EU’s readiness to continue monitoring the human rights situation globally and called all countries to ensure proper functioning of democratic institutions, fight corruption and uphold freedom of religion or belief as well as freedom of expression and opinion. It also underlined EU’s determination to combat all forms of discrimination and strive to eliminate racism, building on the EU Anti-racism action plan 2020-2025.


© 2022 IPA FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, All rights reserved.


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