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Searches and wards in washrooms: Odesa rehabilitation center as prison

Children were not allowed to receive packages from relatives and were taken personal things
17:51, 4 March 2019

Secretariat Commission of Ombudsman detected serious violations of human rights in Odesa rehabilitation center
http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

Ukraine's Secretariat Commission of Ombudsman detected a number of serious violations during the inspection of Odesa social and psychological rehabilitation center. This was reported by the Ombudsman Secretariat press service.

It is reported that there is a satisfactory repair state and the provision of necessary housekeeping equipment, though interviews with foster children showed that instead of rehabilitation, children are kept in conditions close to those as in prison.

“Children cannot use mobile phones, internet and pocket money. Those who have their own mobile phones could call relatives and talk only 15 minutes a week. Children who study outside of the facility are groundlessly subjected to everyday searches for “forbidden objects.” In addition, the monitors recorded unsatisfactory food provision in the institution. The majority of children complained about the food with cockroaches, hair, and it was confirmed during the inspection. Children are not allowed to receive any packages from relatives, "the inspectors said.

It is also noted that the administration grossly violates the privacy of children, watching them while they take a shower. At the same time, it is only allowed to take a shower and change clothes once a week. Children are not allowed to wear their own clothes, forcing them to wear that provided by the administration.

The right of children for correspondence is also limited - children do not have the opportunity to send any messages from the institution, including reports to the police about crimes, such as the numerous cases of children bullying found by the commission, either from other pupils or from the rehabilitation center administration.

Multiple complaints of children about poor medical care were recorded.

Related: Detained Ukrainian human rights activists in Astana deported

It has been established that children are forced to attend a Sunday church school, which is a direct violation of Art. 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine, and deprived of walks.

It was also found that a municipal security car is on duty around the clock at the gates of the institution. Security guards enter the premises of the center.

"A detailed report on the results of monitoring and recommendations will be sent to the head of the Odesa City Council," the Secretariat of the Ombudsman noted.

As it was reported earlier, Amnesty International released a report on the current state of affairs in the human rights area in Ukraine.

'The Ukrainian authorities have failed to prevent or investigate numerous human rights violations committed by violent groups in 2018, perpetuating a feeling of impunity among their members which risks encouraging further attacks against human rights activists, political opponents and ethnic minorities,' reads the report.

'Independent journalists and media companies, especially those who are accused of disseminating “pro-Russian” views, have increasingly come under pressure by both the authorities and members of violent groups. Ukrainian authorities should take decisive steps to stop the surge of violent attacks by ensuring effective, impartial and transparent investigations of all cases. Those who are suspected of being involved in violence should be brought to justice in fair trial proceedings', the document says.

Related: ECHR obliges Ukraine to compensate 4,000 Euros to drug dealer whose rights were violated

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