The authorities manipulate with our children


On 28 September 2002 President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma visited the ancient town of Chernigiv to participate in the celebrations devoted to the 200 thanniversary of the Chernigiv province.

The education directorate ordered to the town schools to send 10-12-year-old children (150 from each school) for forming the „alive corridor“ for greeting the President. The „alive corridor“ had to be organized in the downtown cordoned off by law-enforcers.

The groups of pupils had to arrive accompanied by their schoolmasters. The schoolmasters, in their turn, had to have their passports and the lists of children, which were used as a pass to the „prohibited area“.

Every third pupil had to bring a small Ukrainian flag. These flags had to be provided by the schools. It is obvious that the schools could purchase the flags only from the so-called „school funds“, which are formed nowadays by parents (they collect these money for repair, guard and other primary needs of the school and children).

The officials ordered to bring the children at 9 a.m., although the exact time of the arrival of the President was unknown. All this was happening during the school hours.

The „alive corridor“ had to take place independently of the weather conditions, which, at this season, are not especially auspicious for keeping children outdoors for a long time. When the parents learned about this, they were very worried. The authorities promised that if the weather was too bad, they would not bring the children out.

Unfortunately, we learned about this story only on 27 September, since, according to our sources, the orders were given only orally.

We present our apologies that we spread this information too late. Yet, in our opinion, such problems exist not only in our region and must be discussed.

We are disturbed by the fact that the rights of children are violated in such cases, in particular, the right for education (since at this time the children had to be in school) and the right for rest (if they learned in the second session). The situation is created that endangers the health (or even the life) of the children, especially if to take into account the chosen age. The authorities also did not ask advice from the parents. So, it is a mere manipulation with the children!

We love our country and our people, but we do not want the state authorities to satisfy their ambitions in such a manner.

The similar use of children occurs, maybe, in other towns too. In Chernigiv it happens very frequently. For instance, on some weekend the oblast administration decided to organize „The Day of public organizations“. It appeared that each school had to send 30 pupils each to the expositions, where the NGOs presented their work!

It seems that in such way our „very clever“ bureaucrats try to influence the development of the civil society.

We turn to our colleagues for the advice concerning our actions for protecting children. How do you think, what else children rights were abused in the described situations?

Henceforth we will try to control such situations. We will ask the parents, children and teachers to share their impressions with us, and we will pass this information to you. We are ready to act, but we ask you: „What to do?“

Yours faithfully, the Coordinating council of the public organization „The youth alternative“ (Chernigiv)

PL commentary:Our colleagues ask, what children rights were abused by the actions of the Chernigiv authorities.

If to speak about concrete rights, the authorities violated the rights for the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful gatherings. Yet, there was not only the violation of some concrete rights, situation is much worse. This is an insult to honor and dignity and the abuse of the rights of the children and parents. In general, this is the total pressure on an individual, brutal violation of all moral criteria and common human norms, which was possible only in the times of the Soviet totalitarianism. This is a sign that we have not leave our past yet and, at any time, obeying an order of some bureaucrat and having no wish to assert out individuality, we are ready to agree with the authorities, who force us and our children to take part in the meetings supporting the existing power having negligible rating among the population or to endorse the referendum that would introduce the changes openly limiting our freedoms again. Why we are not afraid that our children will learn these lessons of servility and will lose their individuality like their parents did? Then what may we wait from the future? Welfare? But welfare and freedom are tightly linked with each other. Nothing will help us to reach the welfare without reaching freedom, except Ukraine would have the oil in the quantities comparable with those in the Saudi Arabia.

However, even this hypothetical wealth of our state will not help us, the common people, since the Ukrainian power will never share with us its reaches. We can help ourselves only by our own efforts. We may not permit to transform our children into slaves. Otherwise the Ukraine will not exist as a state, irrespective of how this geographic territory will be called. The indignation of some parents and teachers, as well as the article of our correspondent are the good signs. I hope that by and by more and more people will say „I“. „I want“ or „I do not want“ is not egoism, this is the necessary condition of our survival as a nation.

Inna Sukhorukova

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