Sunday, September 21, 2014

Our children live in paradise - relatively speaking

Every so often a story comes along that stops me in my tracks and seals my complaining lips. Suddenly all those frustrations revolving around C. fade into insignificance. The paucity of therapies available to her at school, the frequent cancellations of the few she gets, the long hours that she's left in her wheelchair at school unstimulated, the dim-witted but arrogant staff members, the uncaring doctors, etc. They all seem like child's play.

One such scandalous story was thrust  into the headlines this week by the New York-based Human Rights Watch. Nearly a quarter of a century after joining the global community of developed, democratic states, Russia languishes in the third world when it comes to children with disabilities.

In scores of orphanages for such  children - most of whom are not orphaned but abandoned - horrific, and systemic cruelty is the rule.

The 93-page HRW report titled "Abandoned by the State: Violence, Neglect, and Isolation for Children with Disabilities in Russian Orphanages" (online here) finds that nearly 30 percent of all Russian children with disabilities are removed from their parents and live in state orphanages, ten of which were visited by the organization, where they face neglect and sometimes violence.

The author of the report, Andrea Mazzarino, a Europe and Central Asia researcher at HRW, says
"In Russia, when a child is born with a disability, parents face pressure from doctors to give their children up. Children end up in orphanages, where they may face serious abuse and neglect."
The graphic text and photos made my blood run so cold I still haven't had the guts to click on the accompanying video.

No comments: