FALSE: A draft law was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada that would allow the mobilization of teenagers

FALSE: A draft law was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada that would allow the mobilization of teenagers

23 August 2023

Verification within Meta’s Third-Party Fact-Checking Program

Information is spreading on the Internet that draft law No. 9480 has been submitted to the Verkhovna Rada, which will limit the departure of Ukrainian teenagers aged 16 to 18 abroad. The authors point out that they do this allegedly in order to send teenagers to the front, because in Ukraine, allegedly, more and more often they do not release 17-year-old boys abroad, demanding documents from the territorial recruitment centers.

However, this is false. The draft law aimed to unify the legislation of Ukraine and EU countries so that only adults could cross the border on their own, and people aged 16 to 18 had to obtain permission to leave from their parents or guardians. Previously, this norm in Ukraine applied to children under 16 years of age.

On July 11, deputies submitted to the Verkhovna Rada draft law No. 9480 “On amendments to the Civil Code of Ukraine regarding the protection of children’s rights during temporary travel outside Ukraine.” In one of the points of the document, it is proposed to harmonize the age of independent departure of children abroad with European norms. Thus, according to the current legislation in Ukraine, a person after the age of 16 can travel abroad unaccompanied by his parents. At the same time, in most European countries, children cannot stay abroad without a parent or guardian until they reach adulthood.

In the explanatory note, the authors of the draft law stated that after the full-scale invasion of Russia, thousands of minors were forced to leave Ukraine. However, in a number of EU countries, persons aged 16 to 18 are considered unaccompanied children, so they can be placed in shelters and assigned temporary guardians.

Therefore, the People’s Deputies proposed to send children aged 16 to 18 abroad only with the consent of their parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, guardian, custodian and accompanied by another person authorized by them. Exceptions are minors who have married or become parents. In the current law, consent for departure is required for children under 16 years of age. The draft law did not mention changing the conscription age. At the age of 16, young men must receive a registration certificate, which confirms that the person entered the military register. However, the presence of this document does not prevent them from leaving the country.

In June, Iryna Suslova, representative of the ombudsman for the rights of children, family, youth and sports, reported on 240 cases when, due to such discrepancies in legislation, social services of European countries took children from Ukrainian refugees. “For example, these can be stories when a mother was forced to stay at work in Ukraine, and sent a grandmother with her child to the evacuation. The grandmother does not have any power of attorney to represent interests and is not considered a relative of this child under European law. In this way, social services can involve the police and remove the child from the family,” explained Suslova.

At the same time, in a comment to the media “Focus”, the director of the Center for the Protection of Children “Our Children” Nataliia Lutsenko indicated that she had not come across cases when social services removed children due to lack of necessary documents. This usually happens due to improper childcare, physical or psychological abuse by parents.

The State Border Service previously denied information that allegedly 17-year-old boys are not allowed abroad. As the representative of the department explained, after the introduction of martial law in Ukraine, travel abroad was limited to men aged 18 to 60. People who are younger or older than the specified age can cross the border freely.

Earlier, we refuted the fake that a minor was sent to the war zone in Ukraine.


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