At the end of our very first month of the campaign, we are extremely pleased to launch an exciting new internet resource to help bring equality to tens of thousands of Turkish citizens. Consider the current challenges in Turkey. An adult with an intellectual disability can be blocked from inheriting property. A mother can be denied parenting rights on the basis of a single mental health diagnosis. A child with autism can be institutionalised and stripped of his or her civil rights for life. Yet small changes to law and policy can change all of this. But first, policy makers and Turkish citizens need the right tools. And this is exactly what this exciting new web resource provides, writes Didem Tekeli.
The Initiative for Human Rights in Mental Health (RUSİHAK) is proud to launch www.madde12.org! This online resource aims to be a catalyst for reforming legal capacity law and policy in Turkey.
Last year RUSİHAK wanted to identify exactly how Turkish law and policy was denying equal recognition before the law for people with disabilities. There was a chapter dedicated to legal capacity law reform campaigns but if you read our report, you will see that this Chapter is left blank. Unlike many countries, the Turkish government is not taking any steps to modernise its laws on legal capacity in light of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
RUSİHAK, which is is Turkey’s first grassroots organisation by people with mental disabilities and their relatives, is now taking a step to fill this gap. We wanted to raise awareness of the CRPD and its core concept of “legal capacity.” By joining our PERSON partners in the Right to Act Campaign we saw a unique opportunity to do this for the first time in Turkish history.
The main Right to Act campaign site (in which you’re reading this blog) is where we become powerful by simply being together, by standing side by side for our cause. We are proud to be part of this collective work. However we are also aware that English language resources can be a barrier for Turkish speaking audiences. Therefore we wanted to launch a Turkish blog on Article 12 of CRPD.
But this is not all. RUSİHAK does not take its blog simply as a Turkish version of our English campaign blog. Instead, www.madde12.org is a base which we would like to continue to talk about CRPD and legal capacity even after Right to Act Campaign ends. We would like it to be a platform where people who have a say on the matter can gather together. We want a base for interested actors to share their experiences, ideas and knowledge and discuss how we can achieve the change we want.
We wish to explain to Turkish citizens – to policymakers, families, to people with disabilities themselves – what the essence of Article 12 is about. We want to cut through the jargon and talk to readers as clearly as possible about what the CRPD can offer.
We hope www.madde12.org will establish itself as a page where people find the opportunity to grasp the concepts of the CRPD and to then move beyond this first step to a point which we cannot even see from today.
RUSIHAK see Madde12.org as an exciting beginning which will endure the #RightToAct campaign and hopefully go beyond it.
To stay in touch, we have a twitter account and an e-mail address to accompany the blog:
We encourage people to sign our declaration in www.madde12.org and show solidarity to pave the way to enjoy our human rights.
Project Co-ordinator (Turkey), PERSON Project
This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of PERSON (Partnership to Ensure Reforms of Supports in Other Nations) and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.