On 1 June, known in many countries as the International Day for Protection of Children and marking the Global Day of Parents, the EU Delegation to Belarus issued a statement, reminding that, out of almost 450 Belarusian political prisoners, at least six are under age.
“We – mothers and fathers from the EU Delegation in Minsk – have sent letters to those young people who are behind bars to express our support and keep their spirits up. We also would like to encourage the parents and families of those young political prisoners not to lose hope and to let them know that the EU stands with them,” says the statement.
The diplomats also remind that young people are more emotionally vulnerable, and a prison sentence causes serious damage to their mental health and limits the opportunities for their self-fulfillment: “Without support from their families and parents, their health, education and emotional well-being are at risk. Respecting children’s rights is of critical importance. We call for the protection of the rights of Belarusian children and the release of minors from detention.”
According to the statement, being a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Belarus has to ensure that children enjoy all special safeguards and care. “Children should be detained only as an exceptional measure of last resort, protected from torture and other ill-treatment at all times, and should not be removed from their families against their best interests,” the statement says.
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