"By militarizing 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," Crimean Human Rights Group researcher Iryna Sedova said during a press conference at Ukrinform news agency on Wednesday.
According to the researcher, 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 organized 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 organized 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.
According to her, the 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," the expert noted.
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," the CHRG researcher emphasized.
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.
"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," Sedova summed up.
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.
According to the expert, 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.
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