COVID-19 pandemic affects all population groups. But youth is considered among the most affected based on the fact that in Turkey, youth present over 20 million or over 25% of the population. Due to the prevention measures during the pandemic, some of the university students were displaced from their regular dormitories, some were dismissed from their jobs, some forced to suspend their education due to lack of access to on-line education, which was made mandatory. Also, despite the lockdown, some young people had to continue working and failed to receive any support from the authorities.
To make such challenge and violations brought about by the COVID -19 response in Turkey visible and provide space for advocacy, GoFor prepared a Problem Map (https://covid.go-for.org/).
“We wish young people between the ages of 18-30 use this map to share challenges and violations they face and contribute to the process of advocacy actions we are willing to carry at the local and national level. Citizens who witness violations are also encouraged to use the map by stating the situation, violated rights and location the violation occurred”, says Hasan Oğuzhan Aytaç, the general coordinator of GoFor.
Up to now, 158 pieces of such information has been entered into the map.
Looking at the categories of challenge and violations entered into the map, the areas that most stands out is the right to education with 50 violations registered. The right to education is followed by the right to employment with 41 violations and the right to health with 29 violations.
“With the transfer of courses to the on-line system, the responsibility of students in graduate groups has increased. We have been discarded as those trying to continue their academic studies from home without internet or personal computer access. If there is no internet, we were told to freeze our schooling process”, one of the complaints states.
“The lectures are done on-line, I was absent from the lectures because I don’t have a computer. I need a computer to compensate”, states another complaint.
The 41 problems reported under the category of the right to employment include one being forced to take unpaid leave, delay or cut in salaries, not finding a job and suspending job advertisements, increasing workload and mobbing.
“I was working in a dining hall. We were fired together with 3 friends of mine, citing the decrease in jobs due to the epidemic”, reports another entry.
“I have been working in a non-governmental organization and I couldn’t get a salary, because the contracting authority did not sign the contract”, explains one of the 158 young people who used this platform.
GoFor is an umbrella organization with the goal to become the National Youth Council in Turkey. GoFor aims to contribute to youth policy in Turkey and empower member organizations. The forum currently has 66 members including youth-CSOs, students’ organizations and in-formal youth groups. GoFor is a member of international networks such as European Youth Forum, EuroMed Youth Network, BlackSea Economic Cooperation Civil Society and Politics Unit.