Kurdish children are forced into child labour or self-employment

Solin Hacador

By Solin Hacador:

Kurdish child labour or self employment in Amed and many other parts of Northen Kurdistan is increasing on a daily basis. This very heart-breaking issue denies Kurdish children their basic human rights, such as the right to education, to play with friends and to live in a healthy environment.

It is obvious that a majority of Kurdish children in Turkey are denied from their basic rights and, directly or indirectly, this is costing them costing their physical, mental or social development.

child labour 5We all know that children are the loveliest creation of nature. No matter their ethnicity, they are all equal. They are the ones who will handle the world in the future.

Each nation’s society grows through its skilled people. If children are brought up in peaceful and happy environments, the world will benefit from them in return. We need a healthy, happy and peaceful World.

Childhood is the best time to benefit from spiritual, intellectual, emotional support. But this rule of nature has been crippled by child labour or self-employment in many parts of the world.

Child labour or the self-employment of children is economically unsound, psychologically disastrous and ethically wrong. It child labour 2should be strictly banned.  All children need loving and caring.

However, it is a global problem. It is more common in underdeveloped countries. There are 250 million child labourers in the world.

I have witnessed the suffering of many Kurdish child labourers. My heart is so burdened and I cannot tell in words my pain and sorrow since I have spoken to some Kurdish children in Amed, Mardin and Istanbul.

My body thrilled when I met Kawa  who is self-employed and was selling stuffed mussels at midnight on the streets of  Mardin. He looked very poor and unhappy but was trying to smile.

child labour 3I wept for Barzan, a Kurdish child who had escaped from Assad’s dictatorship in Syria to Mardin. Now he was selling water on the streets of Mardin. I cried while listening to his story. I know crying does not literally wash away pain. However, as a human I could not escape from my feeling.

Later I moved around the city center of Amed and met several Kurdish child labourers such as cleaners, shop keepers, carriers, etc. I also met several self-employed kids who were selling vegetables, fruits, bagels, cheeses, olives or who were shoe-shining.

In Istanbul, I met several self-employed Kurdish children selling tissue or prayer-beads. They had mainly come from Mardin, Kars, Mus, Amed and Ararat and were trying to make their life on the streets.

I was walking in Sirinevler, a neighbourhood of Istanbul, when I saw a group of little kids escaping from a Turkish police

officer. When the police officer caught them, the kids were screaming for help. I got closer to him and asked the reason. He child labour 4said that these kids were disturbing the public. I asked kids whether it was true. They did not accept the accusation and told me that they were selling tissue and prayer-beads to make a living. From their accents I knew that they were Kurdish. When I spoke in Kurdish with them, they smiled at me with their little faces and said: “Please help us, this police officer each time detains us, remove our products from us and take us to the police station for no reason”. I asked the police officer whether there was a law to detain little kids for selling tissue or prayer beads. He said, “OK, this time I won’t detain them”, and he left. I remained with the kids and I invited them to restaurant to speak and eat together. I was told by the children that their parents were either imprisoned for political reasons had joined the Kurdish freedom fighters. Those children were left alone to struggle for life. It was very painful seeing Kurdish children enduring harsh life condition.

Moreover, there are more than 2,000 imprisoned Kurdish children according to the National Judicial Network in Turkey. The majority of these children are kept in adult prisons and ill-treated.

I have asked every single child I met whether they wanted to study and become professionals if they are given the child 6opportunity. Each of them looked into my eyes with a big smile and said, “Yes”. It is a dream of them all but they cannot afford to study and they are not provided with proper social services benefits. And so there is no option left for them. The UN provided some services but these have not reached all of these kids.

To be a poor Kurdish child is such a difficult thing in Turkey. The gaps between Turkish and Kurdish children are most telling. Turkish children are brought up in decent conditions, and they are provided with ambitious social programs such as high-quality day care, pre-school, primary and secondary education – while a majority of Kurdish children are denied the same rights.

child labour 1In Northern Kurdistan, the Turkish government’s double-standard behavior toward Kurdish children forces so many kids to become labourers or to get self-employed. There is no other option left for them in order to survive. They are not sufficiently protected by the government or by elected Kurdish representatives.

The Kurdish politicians in the Turkish parliament are reckless. They are all well aware of the situation but no proper action is taken. Elected Kurdish Members of Parliament should be aware of their responsibilities and their obligation to consider the future of Kurdish children.

The mayor of Amed, Osman Baydemir, is also aware of Kurdish child labour or self-employment. But very little is done to protect these children.

I condemn both Kurdish and Turkish politicians’ reckless manner towards Kurdish children. I would like to ask: Why the hell do they tolerate this terrible situation for Kurdish children?

The Turkish government’s irresponsible and double-standard behavior towards Kurdish children is unacceptable. The government should provide the same facilities for Kurdish children as for Turkish children, and not deny them their basic rights.

Copyright © 2013 Kurdistantribune.com

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL https://kurdistantribune.com/kurdish-children-forced-into-child-labour-or-selfemployment/trackback/