Nowadays in Ukraine, at the active phase of military actions, there are many cases of discrimination against human rights, and especially against children. Children are not always aware of their rights or do not fully understand when these rights are being violated. While the coronavirus pandemic and full-scale war have created additional conditions affecting the violation of children's rights defined in the UN Convention.
Therefore, Kateryna Biloruska Foundation for the first time in Ukraine is implementing the B-RIGHT project to raise children’s awareness of their rights through basketball activities. Physical education teachers and basketball coaches, as well as ambassadors of this social project, will spread the main information about the project and support children in its understanding.
In this article we will give you more information about the B-RIGHT project and the way it will enable combination of sports and children’s rights. To begin with, let’s get a review of what are children’s rights, what is a violation of given rights, and whom to contact to get help, if it is the case.
You can download the free manual of the B-Right project with exercises via the link. In the future, the exercises can be used in training, physical education classes and outside of classes.
What are children’s rights
The main international document defining the rights of a child is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It has been adopted by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989, and entered into force in September 1990. The convention has been ratified by all the states of the world, with the exception of two (Somalia and the USA). Therefore, it received the most extensive international recognition among all human rights documents.
In one document the Convention combined the entire range of human rights related to children – civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. It defines that rights are to be ensured for every child without any discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his/her parent’s race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status or any other circumstances.
Attention! All rights are interconnected, all of them are equally important and cannot be taken away from children. They must be respected and protected.
In Ukrainian legislation, legal documents regulating children’s rights are as follows:
- The Constitution of Ukraine;
- The Family Code of Ukraine;
- The Law of Ukraine «On the Protection of Childhood»;
- The Civil Code of Ukraine.
Note. According to the International and Ukrainian law, a child means every human being below the age of 18 years. Under the Article 6 of the Family Code of Ukraine, a child below the age of 14 is considered as a juvenile, and at the age from 14 to 18 – as a minor.
What is a violation of children’s rights?
Violation of the children’s rights is a limitation of their rights and opportunities provided to them by the state from their birth.
In particular, the Convention on the Rights of the Child* defines that every child has the following rights:
- Right to life. Nobody can deprive a child of this most precious gift.
- Right to a name and the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
- Right to preserve his or her identity and nationality.
- Right to not to be separated from his or her parents, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.
- Right to express views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight.
- Right to freedom of expression, with the respect of the rights or reputations of others.
- Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
- Right to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.
- No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy or, for example, no one can read his or her correspondence.
- Right to access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources.
- Right to medical assistance.
- Right to education and free access thereto.
- A child has a right to enjoy his or her own culture.
- Right to recreation activities, rest and leisures. Adults have to ensure playgrounds and leisure venues.
- Right to be protected from all forms of physical or mental violence.
- Right to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
- Right to be protected from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances, to be protected from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, to be protected against all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child’s welfare. No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
*The full text of the Convention and optional protocols can be reviewed and downloaded from many web-sites, such as the UNICEF web-site.
All rights defined by this Convention are ensured for every child without any discrimination. Violation of these fundamental principles is a violation of children’s rights and it entails responsibility as provided by the law.
What if children’s rights are violated at school?
Under the Law of Ukraine on Education, educators are obliged to protect the child from all forms of violence, including psychical. And those who commit violation of legislation on the protection of childhood, bear civil, administrative or criminal liability under the laws of Ukraine.
Where to go if children’s rights are violated?
It depends on the situation. In the first place, parents or guardians, who are entrusted with the duty of childcare by the law, stand up for the protection of the violated rights of a child.
In case of violation of children’s rights, you can contact the following services and authorities:
- local self-government bodies;
- prosecutor’s office;
- guardianship and childcare authorities at the place of residence;
- a center for social services for children, families and youth;
- Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Children’s Rights;
- he free legal aid by the common telephone number: 0-800-213-103.
We have also collected a list of international and other organisations created or accredited in Ukraine, which are engaged in the study and protection of human rights or contribute to it.
B-RIGHT – a project to protect children’s rights by means of basketball
The Constitution of Ukraine states that everyone is guaranteed the right to know his or her rights and duties. As it is said, knowledge is the most powerful weapon: if adults get a child aware of his or her rights, it will be easier for minors to defend them.
It is important that the child knows that everyone is equal before the law and society, and therefore any violence or rudeness towards him or her should not be covered up, regardless of who is committing the wrong. The team of Kateryna Biloruska Foundation is convinced that the best way to explain children their rights in a simple and comprehensive way is to do it by means of a game. By participating in physical activities, children will also learn the following:
- why it is important to know their rights;
- how to defend rights and own opinion;
- how to protect themselves from various abuses committed by their environment;
- how to identify different types of social inequality that can hinder children’s development, etc.
At the period of military activities, children are deprived of the possibility to choose their leisure. Their health, both mental and physical, suffers daily from air raids and constant enemy attacks. Their access to quality education, sports leisure, and a possibility to choose a place for physical activities are also limited. At these difficult times, the issue of children’s rights is particularly relevant. With this project the KB Foundation would like to draw attention of the society to the point that the inalienable right of children to leisure should not be stopped.
Ukrainian sports vs children’s rights: the issues
Unfortunately, not all children are aware of their rights. Sports is a special point of concern. The biggest human rights problem when it goes to sports is the issue of equality and discrimination. Children may still be exposed to sexual or other violence, and sometimes without even realising it. Therefore, it is important that children, teachers, coaches and the Ukrainian community in general become aware of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Children need support, and they have to be aware of their rights. Sports coaches and physical education teachers are in position of children’s trust. Which is why they can spread awareness about children’s rights in a simple, comprehensive and joyful way – through sports activities and games. Therefore, Kateryna Biloruska Foundation aims to get the community acquainted with children’s rights. With this regard, it presents the B-RIGHT – a new project to increase children’s awareness of their rights through sports.
What is special about B-RIGHT project?
This is a basketball educational program for the protection of children’s rights. It combines sports with awareness of children’s rights.
The goal of this program is to get children and Ukrainian community acquainted with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. By means of an interesting format of adjusted basketball activities we will aim to reduce discrimination against children in Ukraine. In order to fulfil project goals, we will involve coaches, PE teachers and athletes. The project is specifically designed for children aged 9-12 years, but it may be easily be adjusted for the needs of younger or older participants.
Therefore, through this educational program we strive to combine sports and human rights, with due attention to the development of sports skills. And the most important is to overcome inequality and discrimination against children in this area, as every child should grow up healthy and happy, and be well aware of his or her rights in order to be able to defend and protect them.
KB Foundation. We care about future generation!