Ministers from 9 Countries discussed the Strengthening of the Family Institution

November 23, 2018, Istanbul

The Third International Women and Justice Summit, which is jointly organized by the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) and the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, was held in Istanbul at Grand Cevahir Hotel based on the main theme of “Strengthening of the Family Institution”.

At the “Session of Leaders” titled “Importance of Family in the Globalizing World: Prioritized Policies and Practices”, which was held within the scope of the Summit, Ministers from 9 countries shared the policies that they implement and their experiences.

The session was moderated by Dr. Esra Albayrak, the Chairman of the Women’s Solidarity Council of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Albayrak specified that, when woman is in question, family has an important role in this respect, and she said that women, men and children play a powerful role in the concept of family. Having emphasized that, in a family where a woman is strong, the man is also strong, Albayrak stated that “Violence against women is presented as though it is a characteristics which is specific to eastern societies. Such a perception has been created. However, the same problems are also experienced in western societies”.

We will hold two council meetings at the same time in 2019

Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Services stated that, globalization has significant effects on the family, like in every respect. Having specified that family is the foundation of the society which consists of the bricks namely Responsibility, Respect, Loyalty, Passion and Love, the Minister Selçuk pointed out that: The social state created in Turkey is unique in the world.  The social aids that we have granted in 2018 have exceeded TL 40 billion. Our rate of poverty is decreasing. We are striving to give a back to all our citizens. We are providing conditional educational, health and pregnancy benefits and aids to protect children. 122 thousand of our children are with their family, thanks to the Program SET. As regards to employment, we are providing employment opportunity to both women and men. We have visited 2 millions of our citizens in 1 million houses. Our families are solving the problems by establishing solidarity among them. 91 percent of our elders, who are in need of care, are being cared by our families. I believe that, our families will prevent the global degeneration by protecting our traditions and culture. We will also hold family and elderliness council meetings in the next year.”

Mosuumeh Ebtekar, Deputy President of Iran Islamic Republic stated that, family has started to lose its traditional values as a result of the developing technology. Having emphasized that family is a remedy to loneliness, Etbakar added that: “Services provided by the family are very important for global society and peace. If we want to strengthen the family, we need equal marriage laws to strengthen it. A digital transformation is taking place, and it has brought with it certain difficulties. This transformation has created communication problems in the family. It has affected the communication between family members in an adverse manner. Families that used to spend time together for 2 hours, can now talk with each other  for only 20 minutes.  Children are communicating through their electronic devices instead of having face to face conversations. This has also brought significant problems. In Iran, we are reviewing the legislation of the last 40 years. We are also implementing a program in this respect titled family dialogue.”

Zeki Çeler, the Minister of Labor and Social Security of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus stated that they are facing problems as no protective measures have been taken in the face of globalization.  Having stated that migration, poverty and developments in technology have adversely affected  the family institution, Çeler added that “Disputes arise in the family structure in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus due to inflation, unemployment and health problems. More than 800 spouses have divorced during the recent year. This affects our children to a great extent. Maintenance of a balanced family life is first of all possible by raising the children in a manner which is beneficial to the society. We have taken significant steps to strengthen the children and the family by amending laws. We are continuing to support our families by means of various aid options. We are taking care of all individuals from birth to death, and we are providing multilateral services”.

Having specified that they have implemented significant practices to strengthen the family during the last 5 years, Yohana Susana Yembise, the Minister of Family of Indonesia added “We are carrying out a comprehensive framework study.   We have strict provisions in our laws about social sexual equality and family. We are implementing programs which are intended for women and children. We are establishing family wellness centers. We are also making preparations to adopt parental laws. We have more than 700 different cultures and 5 major religions in our country. Everybody has a different family life. For this reason, we are consulting with traditional and religious leaders. We are developing projects in line with their view of family.

Hind Sabaeh Barak Al Sabeeh, the Minister of Social Affair of Kuwait stated that they are in the process of enacting important legal regulations to strengthen the family institution. Having explained what they do especially in relation to children, Sabeeh stated “We have established the high family council. It is a council which includes within itself non-governmental organizations. It is fully dedicated to  family issues. How can the family be strengthened? How can it maintain its role? are the areas addressed by this council. The council can work easily with this legal infrastructure. With the support of our Emir and our relevant institutions, we have strengthened our women, they will take office in the army and make their presence felt in every aspects of life soon.

Haifa AL-AGHA, the Minister of Women Affairs of the state of Palestine specified that the family is the most significant component and core of the society. Having stated that technological developments have turned the world into a single family through globalization, Haifa added “But we have seen with these developments that the family is also under threat. Globalization infiltrates the family and harms it. Electronic offenses have started to increase. We have established the Office of the Chief Prosecutor for Electronic Offenses in our country. It deals only with these offenses. It follows up on sexual assaults and other offenses. Although Palestine is occupied by Israel, Palestinian women have all kinds of freedoms. The rate of women employed is 13 percent. We don’t find this figure sufficient. The roles have changed now, women are active in the economy and politics as well”.

Başkanı Hijran Huseynova, Chairman of the State Commission for Family, Women and Children Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan stated that the number of divorces have increased around the world. Having specified that the institution of family has weakened, Huseynova added “We approach women with respect in Azerbaijan. We have amended many laws and legislations, increased the age of marriage to 18 and made it mandatory to carry out a medical examination. We have ensured equality of women and men. We have appointed persons in charge of sexual equality. We have more than 2 million families. We are developing significant projects to improve the status of women and children. We consider a robust family as a robust society and future.

Adiyev Kanybek Mamatbekovich, the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Development of Kirghiz Republic stated “In addition to our laws, with the programs that we carry out for the purpose of strengthening the family institution, we are conducting a study on how a woman can contribute to the society as a mother, as a woman. We are opening children and family centers. We are providing training on responsible motherhood and fatherhood”.

Having specified that he considers globalization as an open buffet kitchen, Hajatı Janat Balunzi Mukwaya, Minister of Uganda added “You select what is important for you. If we do not present ourselves in this kitchen as Africa, we can get rid of the effects of the developed world. Family is a major institution in Uganda. We are celebrating the Mother’s Day every year on 15th of May. We play an important role in ensuring socialization as a mother. We ensure the socialization of both the family and our children. We must determine and support the elements which unify the family. We must somehow include the family into the primary education system. And we must continue this”.

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