Chernobyl Union leads legal efforts
to protect the affected

V. F. Shovkoshitny
International Organization «Chernobyl Union»

The All-Union Voluntary Organization «USSR Chernobyl Union» was created in 1990 by the victims of the Chernobyl disaster to ensure their social welfare. Today, the International Organization encompasses 14 Chernobyl Union organizations in the former Soviet republics and nine non-governmental organizations in the United States of America,Germany, Australia, Austria, Italy and Israel.

The aim of the Organization is to provide timely and effective assistance to those who have suffered in the Chernobyl disaster or as a result of any accident at a nuclear plan.

The Organization's motto is «Humanity and Charity'»; it operates on the principles of voluntarism, unity and equal status for its member organizations. It is a confederation of autonomous non-governmental organizations that seeks to unite the efforts of the world's peoples, governmental and non-governmental organizations to uphold the interests of those who suffered in the Chernobyl disaster and other accidents at nuclear plants, and to deal with the consequences.

One of the Organization's main tasks has always been legislation. At the suggestion of, and under pressure from, our organization, the parliaments of Ukraine, Belarus, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Moldova and Kyrgyzstan have passed laws on the status and social welfare of victims of the Chernobyl disaster, and other former Soviet republics have passed government orders protecting the rights of Chernobyl victims, all of which were based on a draft law that we prepared. At present the Organization is fighting to defend the social benefits won by the people involved at Chernobyl.

In conjunction with the Bavarian Red Cross and Bavarian Radio,the Organization has set up a threetier diagnostic laboratory system and donated medical supplies and equipment worth DM 1 1.8 million to Ukrainian hospitals. It and the North-West Medical Times company from Portland, Oregon, USA.,donated $l,192,045-worth of medi?cal equipment and drugs. With Children of Chernobyl from Jersey, in the United Kingdom, it has supplied two ultrasound devices for newborns worth £65,000. The Freedom From Hunger Corporation in the United States donated soya flour worth $5,832,000 to old people's homes and boarding schools. The Christian Children's Fund supplied eight tonnes of maize seed and $185,000-worth of medicines.

In conjunction with the Bavarian Red Cross and Hilfe fur die Kinder aus Tschernobyl in Munich, and the Bavarian Youth Organization in Roth, Germany; Sidilia in Graniano, Italy; and the towns of Pau, Dijon, Evreux and Lille in France, 6,726 child victims were treated abroad, and a further 1,876 in clinics in Ukraine, over the period from 1990 to 1995.

Twenty-five seriously ill children have been treated free of charge with assistance from the Organization. We are in close contact with Hilfe fuer die Kinder aus Tschernobyl in Munich over the treatment of oncohaematological diseases, and with Healing The Children in the United States over the treatment of children suffering from benign tumours of the bone marrow and skeletomuscular system disorders.

Unfortunately, the Organization receives no support from State structures. At this moment the victims, who live in all the former republics of the USSR, are in sore need of drugs, medical and psychological help, and uncontaminated food. Children born to the liquidators and living in contaminated areas also need uncontaminated baby food and drugs.

As the tenth anniversary of the disaster approaches, it has suggested that 1996 should be declared a year of commemoration of the victims of Chernobyl by the United Nations. The suggestion is supported by Ukraine, the Russian Federation and Belarus. The Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs has proposed it at the United Nations General Assembly.

National Chernobyl Union organizations in every country where people who helped to cope with the Chernobyl disaster or have suffered its effects live are making plans for widespread commemoration of that tragic date in human history, to redirect world attention to the aftermath of a globalenvironmental catastrophe.

Official UN translation

Source: DHA News, September–October, p.26