Human rights defenders demand to stop prosecution of children forced into armed conflict
The President should defend the children’s rights and condemn any encouraging minors in joining the armed groups.
The Coalition “Children’s Rights in Ukraine” stated this in its open letter. The human rights activists also held a rally near the premises of the Presidential Administration.
“Protection of children’s rights during an armed conflict is the top-priority task for the state. Is there anyone more important than children?” said Ksenia Karagiaur, the lawyer of the all-Ukrainian Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” in partnership with HIAS.
In accordance with the international standards, particularly the Paris Principles, the Second Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international instruments recognized by Ukraine, the children should receive special care and respect during the armed conflicts. Unfortunately, the President of Ukraine earlier stated that 21 underage boys had been killed during the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. However, the response to information inquiry by the Coalition says there are no such facts. Unfortunately, instead of rehabilitation, eight criminal cases were launched against minors, who participated in the military actions of the so-called “young republic” and admitted their guilt after returning to the government-controlled Ukraine,” said Svitlana Tarabanova, the coordinator of humanitarian direction, a member of the coalition.
The human rights defenders were outraged by prosecution of minors, who had been recruited for participation in the “DPR” illegal armed formations. They demand to recognize these children as victims and launch criminal proceedings against adults.