Child violence priority for NGOs

The prevention of violence against children should be one of the top priorities for Russian non-governmental organizations, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.

Help for orphans and children from problem families, as well as medical care for seriously ill children, is also a major issue, he said at a meeting with NGOs that receive state funding for social programs.

Russia has an appalling record on child abuse, with around 2,000 children a year dying at the hands of adults.

This year Russian NGOs will receive a total of 1 billion rubles ($35 million) from the federal budget, Medvedev said. But these funds, significant as they are, should be matched by “extra-budgetary,” voluntary contributions, he added.

Medvedev singled out “the harmonization of interethnic relations and civil peace” as the second most important priority for Russian NGOs.

Russia was hit by race-riots late last year after the alleged killing of an ethnic Russian football fan by a native of the country’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus. Some 5,000 nationalists and football hooligans rioted near Red Square in mid-December of last year. Related disturbances and violence were also reported throughout the country.

GORKI (Moscow region), April 8 (RIA Novosti)

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