In Turkey, Important Stakeholders Discussed Women's Access to Justice.


In Turkey, Important Stakeholders Discussed Women's Access to Justice

The second multi-stakeholder meeting for the joint EU-Council of Europe initiative on "Fostering Women's Access to Justice in Türkiye" took place in Mugla on June 14, 2022. Participants addressed potential remedies after identifying the key obstacles women encounter while trying to access the legal system. The purpose of the meeting was to improve inter-agency communication and coordination while establishing local, long-lasting support networks to address the needs of women, particularly those who are vulnerable or underprivileged.

In his remarks, Attorney "In this move, we are very glad to have been picked as one of the four pilot bar organisations in Türkiye and to offer a valuable example to the other provinces with our methods," said Cumhur Uzun, president of the Mula Bar Association. Non-governmental organisations, bar associations, local government officials, and public institutions make up the chain of accountability for women's access to justice, and each should act responsibly. As the Mugla Bar Association, we'll keep promoting women's access to the legal system and serving as an example for women everywhere, not just in Mula. We are excited to take part in this initiative and work together to make this important aim a reality.

The joint EU/Council of Europe action "Fostering women's access to justice in Türkiye" aims to increase the gender sensitivity of legal aid services and women's access to these services as well as to improve legal awareness and literacy among women so they can exercise their rights as equal citizens in Türkiye, according to Pnar Başpnar, Head of Operations at the Council of Europe Programme Office in Ankara.

One of the key components of the initiative, according to Başpnar, is the grant agreement that was struck between the Council of Europe and the Union of Turkish Bar Associations to enhance women's access to legal representation. Legal aid lawyers taking part in the training programme will offer legal aid services to women under the parameters of this grant in at least 360 cases, she continued.

To ensure better protection for women's rights, the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, local bar associations, legal aid centres, legal aid attorneys, universities, law faculties, women's studies and gender research and application centres, non-governmental organisations working in the fields of combating gender-based violence and gender equality, public institutions and organisations, violence prevention centres, women's shelters, and experts in the field have teamed up.

In her talk, Assistant Professor Asuman Aytekin nceolu discussed the institutional, socioeconomic, legal, and cultural obstacles that women face when trying to access the justice system in Turkey. She also discussed how the fundamental principles of access to justice—namely, justiciability, availability, accessibility, provision of remedies, quality of services, and accountability—can be operationalized in daily life. She emphasised that, in relation to the standard of judicial services, "legal professionals should be aware of and avoid re-producing gender-based stereotypes and biases when interpreting and applying existing laws, which otherwise amount to discrimination and set barriers to women's access to justice."

The first multi-stakeholder meeting took place in Ordu in May 2022, the second one was in Mula on June 14, and there will be two more sessions before the end of September in Nevşehir and Diyarbakr. The meetings are organised as a part of the initiative "Fostering women's access to justice in Turkey," which is carried out within the framework of the joint programme "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022" from the European Union and Council of Europe.

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