The Russian Federation is violating several articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by militarising Crimean children.
According to the human rights defenders, Ukraine needs to react such violations without waiting for the de-occupation of Crimea, and protect Crimean Children from Russian military propaganda.
During the press conference held in Kyiv on Wednesday, November 25, experts from Crimean Human Rights Group [CHRG] discussed the ongoing militarisation policy of Russia in occupied Crimea, and its impact on Crimean children.
Speaking at the press conference, Head of the Crimean Human Rights Group Olga Skrypnyk said the group is focusing on youth suffering from militarist practices in Russian-occupied Crimea.
“Currently, the most important problem that has occurred as a result of the occupation of Crimea is militarisation. We are investigating the humanitarian aspect of this problem. First of all, we focus on children and young people suffering from militarist practices in Crimea. Russia is spending a significant amount of budget on this. Not even the Covid-19 outbreak foiled [its activities]. Because their [Russian officials] primary objective is to change the mindfulness of people living under occupation,” Olga Skrypnyk said.
“By militarising children in Crimea, the Russian Federation is violating several articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Russia ratified and which it must abide by. First of all, we are talking about Article 6 of the Convention, which guarantees children protection of their health and life,” CHRG researcher Iryna Sedova said.
According to her, mass propaganda rallies with the participation of children, who are dressed in the uniform of the Young Army [All-Russia National Military Patriotic Social Movement Association] and forced to promote service in the Russian army, are organised in Crimea despite the ban on mass events during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a shameful violation that threatens the safety of children. We register such cases constantly and they were organised not only in the summer, when the pandemic subsided a little, but they are arranged even now, when the situation exacerbates. Last weekend, we again recorded the participation of children in such events,” Sedova said.
The researcher asserted that occupying power also violates Article 8 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guarantees the right to choose citizenship.
“Children have been deprived of the right to choose Ukrainian citizenship. Although formally Russia cannot take it away, it is doing everything to impose its citizenship not only on adults but also on children, especially orphans. They have no choice at all.”
Sedova informed that Article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that a child should be brought up on the principles of respect for the United Nations, is also violated by Russia.
“The UN documents condemn acts of aggression committed by one state against another – this is considered a crime and it is enshrined in UN documents. But Russia completely ignores this and instils in children a positive perception of the act of aggression and occupation, claiming it is a victory.”
She added that Russia violated also Article 38 of the Convention, which states that a child must be brought up in respect for the norms of international humanitarian law.
Rights activist explained that international humanitarian law prohibits the occupying power from compelling protected persons to enlist in its armed forces and promoting military service among the inhabitants of the occupied territories.
“Russia not only promotes service in its army but also urges children to serve in its army. This is also a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
According to her, all the facts of violation of children’s rights in Crimea documented by the Crimean Human Rights Group were submitted to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Iryna Sedova insisted that Ukraine needs to react to the violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Crimea without waiting for the de-occupation of Crimea.
(C)QHA CRIMEAN NEWS 2020