Target: Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Goal: Save disabled children from abandonment and abuse
Almost 30 percent of all children with disabilities in Russia live in orphanages where they are subjected to violence and neglect. A new report by Human Rights Watch found that when a disabled child is born in Russia, doctors encourage parents to give them over to institutions and orphanages, convincing them that it would be nearly impossible to care for the child at home. As a result, these children and young adults fall victim to serious mistreatment and abandonment that undermines their emotional, physical and intellectual development.
Further, the Russian government does not administer proper financial support to these institutions leading them to employ uneducated staff members and engage in inhumane practices that compromise the well-being of these vulnerable children. According to the HRW report, children in orphanages are beaten by staff members, injected with sedatives, and oftentimes sent to psychiatric hospitals for days or weeks at a time to control or punish them.
Within these orphanages, children deemed “the most severe cases” are subjected to “lying down” rooms, where they are confined to cribs and tied to furniture with rags. Some are fed through tubes, while others only received attention when their diaper needed changing. Many of these children are rarely, if ever, given the chance to interact with other children, go outside, or play—an activity continuously proven to aid in the development of children with disabilities.
Sadly, it doesn’t seem like the Russian government is in any rush to help these children either. With no real federal system in place, families lack support, educational opportunities and other services that are crucial to the livelihoods of disabled children. Russia’s government has also been accused of holding negative viewpoints and attitudes towards disabled children, and supports their institutionalization.
Until the Russian government acts, countless Russian children may spend the rest of their lives confined between four walls, isolated from their families, communities and peers, and denied opportunities that are available to other children. Sign the petition to encourage President Vladimir Putin to support policies that help disabled children.
Dear President Putin,
The quality of life, or lack thereof, for disabled children in Russia is unfortunate, dismaying, and ultimately discriminatory. More than 30 percent of all children with disabilities in Russia live in orphanages, while 95 percent of children living in orphanages have at lease one living parent. The Russian government’s lack of care for these children has subjected them to abuse, torture, and mistreatment at the hands of uneducated staff and caretakers.
Without proper unions, regulations, or laws protecting disabled children and supporting their families, this cycle will continue to endure and the livelihoods of these children and young adults will be compromised. No disabled teenager should be subjected to wearing a diaper and sleeping in a crib for 24 hours a day; a disabled child shouldn’t be left at the hospital because doctors have convinced his/her family that they will be a burden. And no child, disabled or otherwise, should grow up isolated from their peers and denied opportunities that are accessible to other children.
I encourage you to protect the welfare of children living with disabilities and their families through the creation of new policies, laws and programs. These children deserve a fighting chance.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bdcousineau via Wikimedia Commons