Statement by UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Ms. Afshan Khan
GENEVA, 14 August 2020 –UNICEF stands ready to support all actions that protect and promote the rights and well-being of Belarus’ children.
The release of numerous individuals, including minors, from detention is an important first step. Serious concerns remain over reports of excessive force used by police against protestors, in many cases children. The lack of information on the numbers of children detained and released is also worrisome.
UNICEF stresses the critical importance of respecting children’s rights. As defined in article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child should be in conformity with the law and used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. Legal guardians must be quickly informed and present in all interactions involving law enforcement.
Children have witnessed, and in far too many cases, directly suffered, from the political violence in the country. They require immediate medical, psychological and legal support.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/eca/.