Orphans will spend Christmas vacation in Belarus

Posted On November 25, 2006

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Education Minister Aleksandr Radkov said that all 4,000 Belarusian orphans would spend the forthcoming Christmas/New Year vacation in Belarus.

They will spend it “in our health resorts, our families and at their places of stay,” the official told reporters at the National Assembly’s House of Representatives on Friday.

Earlier this fall, the Belarusian authorities banned orphan children from staying in Italy for recreation with families, allowing them to stay in the country for recreation at institutions only.

The decision came weeks after an Italian couple refused to send an orphan girl back to the boarding school for children with serious speech disorders in Vileika, Minsk region, this past September, saying that the 10-year-old had been physically abused there. The family kept Vika Moroz hidden for almost three weeks. The Belarusian authorities issued an official protest denouncing the move as a deliberate abduction.

Mr. Radkov confirmed that the ban on orphans’ trips to Italy had been issued. He said that children grew attached to their host families prompting them to commit “offenses and provocations,” as had been the case with Vika Moroz, which he noted was not a single incident.

The official said that orphans would be allowed to travel to Italy if the latter offered “prepared places under control of the Belarusian and Italian sides,” as well as guarantees that Belarusian children would undergo “quality health treatment” there and return to their home country.

He added that the education ministry was seeking to fulfil Aleksandr Lukashenko’s demand that Belarusian orphans should undergo medical treatments at Belarusian health resorts.