Compulsory evacuation of children

19 April 2023
Compulsory evacuation of children
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Draft bill #9207 of April 14, 2023 

Cosponsors: a group of 14 MPs from the European Solidarity faction with Iryna Herashchenko as the first signatory 

Status: preparations for consideration 

Who is affected: the Cabinet, oblast military administrations, the General Staff, and families with children living in combat zones. 

Summary of the bill: 

  • the procedure for evacuation of children, which has already been introduced by the Cabinet resolution of March 7, is now proposed also by the bill 
  • the compulsory evacuation of children will be carried out exclusively in settlements where hostilities are already taking place, and in all other cases it will be prohibited 
  • children will be evacuated accompanied by one of the parents or a person who legally acts as a parent 
  • parents will not be allowed to refuse the evacuation 
  • decisions on the compulsory evacuation of children will be made by oblast military administrations in coordination with the General Staff and the Coordinating Headquarters for compulsory evacuation of the population under the Cabinet 
  • evacuated children will have to be accommodated in safe areas in hotels, sanatoriums, residential buildings, or other buildings suitable for a long-term stay. 

What is right: 

  • the bill addresses the issue of providing evacuated children with a place to live in safe areas. 

What is wrong: 

  • the policy of forced evacuation of children from combat zones is already in force. In March 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted the resolution on the matter, so there is no need to duplicate its provisions in the law 
  • since compulsory evacuation will be applied only in settlements where hostilities are already taking place, the state will not have the opportunity to evacuate children from frontline areas that are regularly shelled or areas where hostilities are likely to start depending on the situation on the battlefield 
  • the General Staff of the Armed Forces within the modern system of army management and control is a planning body rather than a battlefield management body. It cannot be responsible for decisions on compulsory evacuation 
  • the bill does not designate a body responsible for making a list of establishments where children can be accommodated. Also, the bill does not address the issue of who will pay for children’s resettlement and meals. 

Alternative solution: 

  • to allow compulsory evacuation of the entire population from areas where hostilities are taking place or may start in the near future in order to reduce civilian casualties 
  • to allow oblast military administrations to decide on evacuation in consultation with the command of military units in order to speed up the evacuation process 
  • with mediation from the Cabinet, to organize cooperation between oblasts where hostilities are taking place and oblast in the rear where evacuated people will be settled.