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Freedom of Travel for Chernobyl Children

A. Lukashenko and children's recovery?

There were several reports in November 2004 according to which the Belarussian government is planning to restrict children’s recovery trips abroad.

A choice of newspaper articles/news that have been released in November 2004.

In response to these reports, the chairman of the Chernobyl Initiative sent the following "Letter patent" to the Belarussian ambassador in Berlin.

Today tensions have eased. A. Lukashenko, according to his own statement, had been misunderstood. Children's recovery measures are to continue, however, inviting organizations are to be more closely monitored. The Chernobyl Initiative is planning further children's recovery measures. In any case we will keep watching the activities of the Belarussian government closely.

To the
Ambassy of the Republic of Belarus
attn. Ambassador V. Skvorzov
Am Treptower Park 32

12435 Berlin

Letter patent

Dear Mr. Ambassodor Skvorzov,

The issue of the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 20 November 2004 contained the following article with the headline: Children are not allowed abroad any more. This article said that President Lukashenko wants to abolish the freedom of travel for minors. In the future, exemptions will be possible only with a personal permission of the Secretary of Education. As the reason for this step your Presidents explains: "When staying in the West, Belarussian children are confronted with the damaging values of western mass consumption society." We hope that all this is not true. We hope that your President was misquoted!

However, if he is serious, not only children's recovery, but all of the support provided by Germans, particularly humanitarian help and our solidarity with the Belarussian people is at risk.

If he, as an orthodox Christian, seriously believes that our values are damaging to children in need of recovery, he attacks the values of the "Christian Occident" and Christianity. He can't be serious. I suspect that he considers it damaging for his politics to confront children with the values of freedom and democracy of the western world.

Dear Mr. Skvorzov, you know our Chernobyl Initiative and many other people, groups and associations in Germany who are committed to the children damaged by radiation and also to the whole of the Belarussian people. When visiting us, you were always given an opportunity to speak at church services, anniversaries and other events. You have been able to gain an impression of our values. If our commitment is truly damaging to Belarus, we will stop it immediately - with all consequences. This is the opinion of all board members of our society. Please communicate this to your President. However, we still hope that all this will turn out to have been just a big misunderstanding.


Paul Koch
of the Tschernobyl-Initiative in der Propstei Schöppenstedt e.V. (Chernobyl Initiative in the Provost's Parish of Schöppenstedt)

Recuperation for children

Recuperation for children

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Last modified at 2007-03-23, Paul Koch. Contact address