A Call to Global Leaders on the Situation in Ukraine

Photography credits: Silviu Ghetie

March 17, 2014

Considering the political crisis in Ukraine, ChildPact calls on all political and military stakeholders both within the borders of Ukraine and external stakeholders intervening through economic, political, social or military channels to reflect and act on the principle of the “best interests of the child.”

Almost one year ago, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child issued General Comment No. 14 (2013, hereafter GC No. 14) on the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration.  ChildPact considers General Comment as applicable to global, regional, national and local public administrations and legislative bodies that are States Parties to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and those stakeholders that believe in the unique dignity and protection of children in all stages of development.

In application, ChildPact calls on all activists on either side of the conflict, Ukraine’s political leaders, and Ukraine’s national neighbours and influencing groups to abstain from decisions and actions that contradict the best interests of Ukraine’s most vulnerable and precious citizens: it’s children (Legal Analysis, Paragraph A1(a), GC No. 14).

According to GC No. 14, public authorities must consider the best interests of the child in all public actions or decisions (Objectives, Paragraph 10, GC No. 14).  The best interests of children apply to actions that have short, medium and long-term effects (Nature and Scope, Paragraph 13, GC No. 14).  The best interests of children apply to decisions that will have a major impact on children and their protection.

In this case, decisions that could lead to economic sanctions, economic default, military interventions, armed conflict, ethnic division, ethnic discrimination or political stalemate will have a major impact on children and their protection.

ChildPact calls on the Ukrainian Government, Russia, the European Union, and the United States to assess and deliver a child rights impact assessment to determine the ethics of each country’s own actions and steps.

ChildPact further calls on all stakeholders to strengthen diplomatic action and negotiation as a means to resolve tension and to ensure the security and protection of children, youth and non-combatants in the case of an imminent threat of violence.

As parents, we reduce our pride, we provide our time, we sacrifice our own desires for the sake of our children.  Shouldn’t we expect the same treatment of our children from global leaders?