In Ukraine children with disabilities are abandoned (06/05/2022)

Before the war, there were 98,000 children in institutions in Ukraine, many of whom were disabled. “They gave us children that no one else wanted. No one wants something hard and difficult like this. They threw them out of the train like corpses, ”says one of the directors quoted in the DRI report. “The children who come here stay for life. This is their fate. There is nowhere else to go. This is a breakdown of humanity ‘.

Many children from institutions in the war-torn eastern parts of Ukraine have been evacuated, but DRI condemns the fact that ‘children and adults with greater support needs were left in institutions in western Ukraine, while less disabled children or non-disabled people from the same institution were transferred to Poland, Italy and Germany. Children with greater disabilities therefore face the greatest burden of increasing dangers. DRI investigators observed bound babies, left in beds in almost complete inactivity, kept in dark rooms, poorly ventilated and with so little staff that they were engulfed by the smell of urine and feces. Children rock back and forth or abuse themselves as a result of many years of emotional neglect. The staff has no resources or knowledge. […] In some cases, basic care such as hydrocephalus treatment was lacking, leaving children to die a slow and painful death. ‘

DRI calls for “immediate action to identify where children are in remote facilities – and to ensure that they receive protection for their health and safety.” For more than 200 children and adults, for example, there are fifteen nurses, two part-time doctors and a dentist in an institution visited by DRI. The only psychiatrist on staff has enlisted in the Army. The director says he was forced to hire seven new “nannies” to care for 38 new children and adults. Czech and Swiss organizations that provided assistance before the war continue to help, but no new resources have been added. Institutional staff reported that they “have no idea what to do” with the most seriously ill children arriving from the East, and that many children have had a large number of seizures due to the trauma of relocation and the lack of consistent treatment.

DRI observers say that “staff tell us their biggest need is diapers and rubber bands. I understand how overwhelmed they feel about the number of babies they have to change and keep clean. This has to take all their time and they have no more resources for treatment or other activities. Thus we see children left in the beds. But some staff seem unaware of the kind of treatment and support that children do not receive. ‘ And again: “To an outside observer, children and adolescents in bed during the day or tied to a chair may not seem terrible. But these children need social interaction. They need stimulation. Sitting motionless, their arms and legs literally atrophy over time. From a psychological and physical point of view, it’s painful, dangerous, and it kills them slowly. ‘

A renunciation, the one condemned by Disability Rights International, “in total violation of any international norm on human rights, beginning with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” comments Vincenzo Falabella, president of Fish. “From the earliest stages of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Fish had taken measures and committed on the one hand to peace and on the other hand to avoid all suffering for nearly 3 million people with disabilities in Ukraine, including at least 100,000 boys and girls separated from society in closed structures “.

The Italian Disability Forum, a liaison body with the European Disability Forum, has intensified its efforts in recent weeks to ensure that people with disabilities and their representative organizations are supported, and to respond to the more specific needs of people with disabilities. land, both for those who were able to repair in other states. At the national level, Fish has joined a coordination group within the National Council of the Third Sector, which, together with the relevant ministries and the National Operational Committee for Civil Protection, organizes assistance to the civilian population of Ukraine and controls the flows of those arriving in Italy. “In early March, Fish had asked Foreign Minister Di Maio and Stefani, Minister for Disability, for the immediate opening of a humanitarian corridor, to allow the rapid arrival in our country of as many disabled people from Ukraine as possible., Starting with minors and women with severe disabilities.But now, compared to what was first reported by “Avvenire” on the basis of direct testimony from organizations such as Disability Rights International, we believe that efforts must be stepped up and that this must happen quickly“.

By appealing to the national and international aid and reception system, the Federation reaffirms its full willingness to cooperate at all levels to put an end to these inhumane situations.

The DRI report is attached at the bottom of the article.

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