On the International Children’s Day, Oksana Pokalchuk, Director of Amnesty International’s Ukrainian office, presented her thoughts on the holiday.

We – adults – always try to protect children from all the bad and evil that is in this world. With the mind, of course, because some difficulties can really harden the character. However, today I would like to draw your attention to the difficulties that no child in the world should face:

– this is when your whole childhood is an attempt to escape from the war, and you have no choice who to become when you grow up because you are banally not given the opportunity to get a basic education. That’s how five million children grow up in Bangladesh who have never seen a classroom. Among them are half a million Rohingya children in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar – https://bit.ly/3eBR26Q

– this is when you are kidnapped and forced to go to kill or to be for the “wife” of one of the “soldiers”. This is the current situation in Nigeria, where the armed group Boko Haram has abducted thousands of children, forcing boys to go to war and girls to become “wives” of members of the group – https://bit.ly/2TClQfJ

– this is when early in the morning strangers come to your house with weapons and take your dad. And then you see him only in court and in the colonies thousands of miles from home. This happened and continues to happen to hundreds of children of Crimean Tatars after the annexation of Crimea – https://bit.ly/2XRM0fx

– this is when adults with money and power deprive you of any chance for the future. This is exactly what is happening in the context of the climate crisis when the risk of losing the planet to the point of pain is obvious, but corporations and politicians (do not) neglect science for the sake of wealth and thus deprive young people of a chance to live in a world without climate change – https://bit.ly/3cp9tdr

– this is when the whole world closes borders, introduces quarantine, and you find yourself in a closed house with “relatives” who are abusing you or your family. This is the situation of children all over the world, in particular, in Ukraine, where the effectiveness of the police in combating domestic violence during quarantine leaves much to be desired – https://bit.ly/2ZYbHOy

I would like us, adults, to mention child protection more often in such contexts. Mentioned and acted. Then mentioned and acted again. Until all these horrible stories really remain just a bad memory of a world that will no longer exist.

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