On October 6, 2023, a conference devoted to the protection of children’s rights was held under the organization of the Upper Seine Bar Association (France). Within the framework of the signed Memorandum on cooperation with the Kyiv Region Bar Council and the Verkhnaya Sena Bar Association, lawyer Olha Kukharenko presented the Kyiv region at the conference.
The lawyer shared the problems of protecting children’s rights in Ukraine under martial law and said that during hostilities, all citizens become potentially vulnerable, especially children due to their young age. The circumstances in which they find themselves expose them to a huge number of risks.
The lawyer began her report with the official statistics of the state authorities of Ukraine, which eloquently demonstrates that as of today in Ukraine, the Russian invaders violate all possible rights of children and have already killed 504 children, seriously injured 1129 children. 19,546 cases of illegal deportation of children to the territory of the Russian Federation have been officially confirmed, and another 1,214 children have gone missing due to unjustified military aggression. But there are reasons to believe that the reality is worse, since it is impossible to establish the exact number of injured children due to active hostilities and the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine.
The rights of children guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine: to life, family, health care, care, protection, as well as personality development and education are cynically violated by the occupiers.
Children are in real danger of becoming orphans, dying, being crippled, losing contact with their relatives, or finding themselves among forced migrants and being separated from their homeland. And children who continue to live on the territory of Ukraine during martial law are exposed to the daily danger of rocket attacks, which can affect not only their physical condition, but also their psycho-emotional condition.
The lawyer briefly touched on the positive experience in the field of protecting children’s rights in recent times.
An important area of activity of our state is the improvement of effective mechanisms for the implementation of legislation in the field of protection of children’s rights, as well as preservation of life and health of children under the jurisdiction of Ukraine.
The Coordinating Headquarters for the Protection of Children’s Rights under Martial Law was established. Thanks to the authorized members of the Coordination Staff, decent support and protection of children’s rights is carried out.
The main tasks of this body are:
- makes agreed decisions on determining the tasks of state bodies regarding the protection of children’s rights;
- determines the need to evacuate children from dangerous areas, as well as organizes their safe movement and organization of the stay of evacuated children on the territory of Ukraine or beyond;
- monitors cases of violence against children;
- return of illegally deported children.
However, in the conditions of martial law, it is extremely difficult to implement the functions entrusted to the state to ensure the protection of children’s rights. This becomes the priority task of everyone. Therefore, one cannot fail to mention the “Children of War” platform, which was created by the Ministry of Reintegration together with the National Information Bureau on behalf of the Office of the President of Ukraine.
The “Children of War” platform acts as a tool for finding, rescuing and freeing children from places of forced displacement or deportation. In addition, it acts as a universal communication channel with law enforcement agencies: the National Police of Ukraine, the Office of the Prosecutor General, as well as with the National Information Bureau and the public.
Using the platform, you can report: about a lost child; about a crime committed against a child; if you found a child unaccompanied by adults; if you are aware of the fact of the child’s deportation; about the forced change of citizenship and documents of the child; about other violations of children’s rights during the war.
And in conclusion, despite all the circumstances presented by today’s military realities, Ukraine, we, its citizens, are trying to do everything that depends on us to ensure the protection of our future – our children, their rights, freedoms and interests. Also, the lawyer expressed her hope that every Ukrainian child and society will receive just satisfaction for the crimes committed and every culprit will be held accountable. This can be implemented with the consolidated support of all civilized states and institutions.