Children afraid of leaving their houses

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.12 - 2023 9:15 AM CET

Amnesty International has documented crimes against Ukrainian children

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Amnesty International has brought to light alarming evidence highlighting the plight of Ukrainian children living under Russian occupation.

Based on testimonies from 23 educators and 16 families with school-age children, the human rights organization has documented significant disruptions in the education system and severe risks to the wellbeing of these children.

The research underlines that the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine is not only a physical threat but is also jeopardizing the future of Ukrainian children.

Parents are facing the horrifying prospect of their children being taken for "re-education" in Russia, with some even resorting to hiding their children to avoid forced enrollment in Russian-curriculum schools or adoption in Russia.

Amidst such adversities, some educators and parents have courageously attempted to organize education in line with the Ukrainian curriculum, despite the looming danger of reprisals.

Teachers and students have resorted to covert operations reminiscent of guerrilla warfare, hiding laptops and mobile phones to continue their education.

In one instance, a school librarian named Uliana spoke of the risks involved in secretly meeting with students to distribute books. Similarly, Polina, a mother of two, revealed that her children barely left the house for nine months due to the fear of being taken to Russia.

The situation in schools in occupied areas is dire, as reported by Ksenia, whose 15-year-old son was threatened with forcible relocation to a Russian orphanage if he did not attend a school adorned with Russian state symbols and guarded by armed personnel.

A teacher from Berdiansk shared how children in occupied regions are being forced to learn Russian and sing the Russian national anthem, with threats of removal from their parents for non-compliance.

The quality of education has significantly deteriorated in these regions, with schools operating without qualified staff, leaving children to fend for themselves in the classrooms.

Anna Wright, an Amnesty International researcher, emphasized that the only solution to alleviate the suffering of Ukrainian children and assist in Ukraine's recovery is for Russia to end its aggression, which stands as a clear violation of international law.

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