UNODC and partners met with schoolchildren to discuss prevention of violence and suicide among minors in Kyrgyzstan

During the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges such as economic hardship, the need to spend more time in a confined space and a reduction in opportunities for open communication with peers have a negative impact on the psychological state of citizens of the country, including young people, which leads to an increase in the number of domestic violence, and also delinquency and suicide among young people.

In order to timely prevent misconduct, bullying, terror among young people, UNODC, in partnership with the Ministry of Interior of the Kyrgyz Republic and the “League of Children's Rights Defenders” Public Foundation, held a forum for senior students of secondary schools in Issyk-Kul oblast. Some 1000 people participated in the forum.

Mr. Kanat Dzhumagaziev, Head of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Issyk-Kul region, during a meeting with students, their parents and local citizens noted that very often from a very young age a child hears: "You are already grown up, you will figure it out yourself". “But no, he won't figure it out. With grades and lessons - maybe, but not with bullying, not with scary situations when he sees his friends being subjected to various forms of violence from peers or at home. Children often give a distress signal, shout about it, but no one hears them. And when a terrible event happens, adults cannot believe it: "We did not even think, such a positive boy, always smiles." And what was behind this smile, no one wanted to understand. Therefore, such events and meetings with schoolchildren, which we are holding today, will be conducted permanently”.

During the forum, a theater performance on the theme of school racketeering was also performed. Artists - students of the Kyrgyz State University of Culture and Arts named after B. Beishenalieva showed children how extortion and bullying among minors can ruin a child's life, as well as the importance of preventing violence, and how an outstretched helping hand to someone in a difficult life situation can change everything for the better.

An analysis of the work of law enforcement agencies conducted in 2020 showed that racketeering in schools transforms in a new form which is difficult to identify and attribute to any offense. For example, schoolchildren who were interviewed anonymously said that often high school students, under threat of violence, ask for a certain amount of money, while the victim realizes in advance that these funds will not be returned. In some cases, valuables or a mobile phone are taken from the victim and pawned at a pawnshop. Later, teenagers have to buy out their property. Often, schoolchildren begin to steal money and valuables from their homes in order to buy off racketeers. Another form of racketeering is forcing victims to do some household or field work.

In connection with the disappointing results obtained, the leadership of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Issyk-Kul region decided to organize local meetings with schoolchildren and, in a dialogue format, discuss issues of preventing school racketeering, crimes among minors, as well as offenses against children.

The teenagers, deeply touched by the theatrical performance, after the end of the performance openly and without hesitation expressed their opinions about school racketeering, existing problems in schools and relations between children and adults. “This is a new approach to working with youth, and it has given its positive results,” said Kanat Dzhumagaziev, summing up the results of the forum.

Ms. Nazgul Turdubekova, Head of the League of Children's Rights Defenders, addressing teenagers, urged them to always seek help from adults in difficult cases. "No one should be left alone in a difficult situation. Contact your relatives, friends or call the children's helpline 111. Psychologists on this phone will always support you," she said.

The meetings were held as part of Sub-program - 2 of the UNODC "Criminal Justice, Crime Prevention and Corruption" Regional Programme for Central Asia 2015-2021.

Article in Russian language


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