Turkey: Questioning effectiveness of National Action Plan to combat VAW

Roj Women

In a recent summary report of their campaign for an effective implementation of the National Action Plan to combat violence against women Roj Women explain why they believe the Turkish Plan is failing to deliver its goals. In South East Turkey 1 out of 2 women are victims of violence against women. The national average is 39%. In a context of social and economic development neglect, pervasive patriarchal attitudes and militarization all contribute to high rates of violence against women in the region.

Overall, the legal and policy framework guaranteeing women’s rights and gender equality is broadly in place in Turkey. The National Action Plan to combat violence against women is the most important measure among them.

The 3€ million budget allocated by the EU to tackle domestic violence produced the tools, the Action Plan among them, to help the Government in its efforts towards gender equality; thus, the responsibility to allocate funds for the implementation of the plan lies with the Turkish Government.  Enforcement mechanisms so that legislation is implemented consistently across the country are scarce. Abundant evidence and cases in the last months are proof that measures envisioned in the Action Plan are not in place.

Targets and activities, along the responsible institutions for their enforcement, are established in the National Action Plan. All agents responsible for enforcement (public institutions and agencies, local governments, universities as well as the private sector) self-monitor their own effectiveness. The Directorate on Women’s Status does not plan to conduct an independent evaluation or to evaluate performance against a blueprint with benchmarks and deadlines of each enforcing party. Moreover, a budget has not been allocated to implement the Plan, and enforcing parties are expected to put aside a part of their budgets to fulfill their responsibilities under it. The next NAP 2011-2015 has not been allocated a budget either.

Ambitious Turkish Action Plan to combat Violence against Women fails to deliver due to lack of financial resources and of a monitoring system

In light of the above Roj Women Association calls for the Turkish government:

Firstly, to assign a budget to the National Action Plan to combat violence against women, instead of relying on the enforcing parties to set aside a portion of their own budgets to pursue their responsibilities under the NAP.

Secondly, to develop a comprehensive monitoring system with specific benchmarks and deadlines that does not rely on enforcing parties’ self-assessment. This monitoring system should be developed in consultation with civil society.  The ambitious NAP might not render the desired results unless monitoring progress is possible. This is so not only because enforcing parties are unable to map out progress and gaps, and to learn from good (and bad) practice, it is also because civil society is unable to fulfill its role as ombudsman of the Turkish State’s performance.

Roj Women’s recent summary report can be read here.

February 7, 2011 by rojwomen.com