This question is raised in the Guardian newspaper this week by writer Marcel Theroux who draws our attention to the plight of Ukraine’s street children and the HIV epidemic which infects at least one in ten of them.
I believe I can answer his question by first pointing out what was said 4 years ago, when colleague Terry Hallman drew attention to the “wilful blind eye” being turned by those in a position to do more – UNICEF and USAID.
There remain approximately 90,000 children in orphanages, 10,000 in the ‘gulags’. Another 200,000 children live on the streets because state-care options have been less tolerable than street life. Because street children are most visible and therefore obvious, other organizations notice them and are making at least token efforts to help them. Nevertheless, the overall problems are systemic. It is not enough to help these kids without dealing with the causes — primarily corruption and displacement of Ukraine’s cash and resources — that put children in such conditions to begin with. This systemic recognition is at least beginning to be understood. The ‘Marshall Plan’ details it, and provides comprehensive solutions with a financial net-cost to government over seven years of: zero.
That’s about as well as it can be done. It will work, and it must be done if Ukraine wants to become a member of civilized nations. US and Europe can and should help, but only after first conditions are met unilaterally by Ukraine — the sole condition on which I released the ‘Marshall Plan for Ukraine.’ Those conditions are simple: take care of your children, all of them, close the orphanages and gulags, open the truth of the matter, and never try to hide any of it again. That is underway. Ukraine’s government took the initiative. It is now appropriate and necessary for the US and Europe to provide interim assistance, guidance, and models to bring the core metric — child care — to modern, civilized standards from the barbarism that has heretofore prevailed. Even despite Kyiv’s ongoing political convulsions stemming from democratic development — the worst possible form of government except all the others that have been tried, as Churchill put it — Ukraine is now on track to become a member of the club of civilized nations of the world, realize its potential, grow up, and be adult rather than petulant hooligans fighting in a playground sandbox.
July 3, 2008
Later that year, the plan he describes was placed in front of the European Union who also found reason to disregard the risk on its doorstep.
Who should we ask this question of at the EU?
Lord Mandelson perhaps – a companion of the wealthy and EU trade commisioner of the day, or EU commissioner Michel Barnier, who says he wasn’t aware of this work.
On the other hand there’s the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who said that they “can at least assure you that the Ukraine desk at the FCO, and our Embassy in Kyiv, are now aware about the activities of your organisation.”
Maybe the Guardian itself, who’ve put up great resistance to this story, until now.
Ukraine: Death Camps, For Children
Genesis: A letter to USAID
USAID: Letter to Terry Hallman
A ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine Part I
A ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine part II
Kyiv Post: Orphanage children unprotected fron abuse, neglect
Petition to David Cameron
Maidan: Death of Terry Hallman