Members of the HRC, the OP, the State Duma and the Federation Council, with the support of international organisations, are presenting a report to the UN on violations of children's rights in Ukraine
This article originally appeared at Izvestia.ru. Translated for RI by Kristina Aleshnikova
More than six thousand people have been killed during the armed conflict in south-eastern Ukraine between April 2014 and February 2015. Among that number are children. UN data shows that there are more than 15 thousand wounded, Rupert Colville, Spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced on February 20th.
On March 13th at the initiative of Yana Lantratova, member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC) and Chairman of the Coordination Council of the Russian Union of Volunteers (SDR), a Monitoring Group on children’s rights in Ukraine was set up by the SDR. It includes members of the Public Chamber (OP), the Russian State Duma, the Federation Council of the Russian Federation and the HRC.
International human rights organisations, in particular Save the Children, Human Rights Watch and the OSCE, were also invited to participate.
"Apart from the fact that it is necessary to establish the fact that children’s rights are being violated, it is also imperative to bring this to the attention of the international community and the international legal system. We plan to work with the European Council of Human Rights," the founder of the group told Isvestia.
"We want international organisations to be connected to these actions too, as there are already many international legal missions set up - they come but they are selective in their treatment of human rights on site and they are trying not to notice that peaceful citizens are being killed. This is not acceptable."
The Monitoring Group on the Rights of the Child is designed to convey accurate information about events in Donbass to the international community and to involve authoritative international organisations in the solution of the pressing problems of children in the conflict zone.
"We will try to work quickly, to provide prompt emergency assistance to the most vulnerable citizens of the region. The children of Donbass need it urgently," Olga Alimova member of the State Duma Committee on Family Affairs, Women and Children and member of the Monitoring Group for the Rights of the Child told Izvestia.
Letters were sent to Nikolai Kuleba, commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children’s Rights with the aim of establishing a joint effort. The promoters hope for a positive response from the Ukrainian side.
Kailash Satyarthi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 was also invited to assist. According to the members of the Union of Russian Volunteers, the Indian children’s rights activist is just the right person to help uphold the rights of the child in Ukraine.
In 1980 Satyarthi founded the organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which during its existence helped more than 83 thousand children around the world.
The Monitoring Group will collect detailed information on all violations of the rights of the child during the armed conflict in southeastern Ukraine. At the end of April 2015 a progress report will be presented to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
"Real help for the victims in Donbass began when the first part of the report on human rights in Ukraine was prepared and presented to the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Concerned citizens collect money for medicines and medical supplies for the wounded and then organise transport to Russian territory in order to provide the victims with qualified medical assistance," explained Lantratova.
"Now we want the European Court on Human Rights to make an objective, honest ruling and compensate the victims for their loss. It needs to be connected to the appropriate UN Committee, which can send observers to the region, in order to bring help. Currently you have the situation that only Russia is providing any real help."
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of November 1989, the state is responsible for protecting the rights of children. The same can be found in the European Convention on Children’s Rights of 1996.
A joint visit to south-eastern Ukraine with representatives of the Monitoring Group is planned for late March. Public Chamber members Maxim Shevchenko and Anton Tsvetkov, Lantratova, State Duma Communist Party deputy Olga Alimova and Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Construction representative Lyudmila Bokova will participate.
During the visit the members of the Public Chamber, State Duma and Federation Council will visit the places where children affected by the armed conflict are living, in particular the basements in which Ukrainian families have been forced to live through the winter without light or electricity.
On 16th March, with the assistance of the Union of Russian Volunteers and financial support from the Crimean City Prosecutor’s office, 24 injured children from Donetsk will be placed in Crimean rehabilitation centres. The little guests will be met by Natalia Poklonskaya, Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Crimea. Later at least 5 more such trips to Russian hospitals will be organised with injured children from Donetsk.