The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus announced the launch of joint 'Child-Friendly Border' initiative. The opening ceremony of the project took place on July 9 at Minsk National Airport with the participation of UNICEF Representative in Belarus Dr. Rashed Mustafa Sarvar, the Chairman of the State Border Committee Maj.-Gen. Anatol' Lappo, and General Director of Minsk National Airport Mr. Vyačaslaū Kharaneka.
Further implementation of the project implies creating comfortable and friendly conditions at all border checkpoints for families travelling to and from Belarus with children. At the first stage of the project, four specially designated passport control booths were installed at Minsk National Airport building (two in the arrivals section and two in the departures hall). Additionally, a set of information stands with materials on responsible parenting, children's rights, and prevention of infectious diseases were installed in addition to equipping children's playground area for the youngest passengers.
“Our joint plans for the coming years include further development of other areas of the Child-Friendly Border Initiative: the creation of playgrounds near international land border checkpoints and border outposts, coordinating joint actions to support children crossing Belarusian border, and supporting the children of border guards, – said the Chairman of the State Border Committee Maj.-Gen. Anatol' Lappo.
Dr. Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, UNICEF representative in Belarus, also commented on the launch of the first phase of Child-Friendly Border Initiative:
– UNICEF appreciates the work of the Republic of Belarus in ensuring the security of its state borders and creating comfortable conditions for families crossing the border with children. Our joint Child-Friendly Border Initiative will further improve this experience while promoting the principles of responsible parenting and children's rights to a safe and happy childhood.
I think that you all, just like myself, have noticed how curios the children are during passport control. They, for sure, have the interest to be a part of this process. For children's convenience, we installed small stairs that will allow children to observe the whole process of passport control while traveling with their parents. We also placed stands with educational materials that will explain the children's rights in an easy and accessible way, and will reintroduce the children to the rules of hand hygiene to prevent the spread of viral infections.
In current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, the issue of virus protection has become even more necessary. Despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic, many families are forced to fly abroad for a number of reasons. We hope that Child-Friendly Border Initiative will increase the comfort and safety of family travels during the COVID19 pandemic. We expect it will also be appreciated by numerous passengers who will be passing through Minsk National Airport when life returns back to pre-COVID normal, and each of us will be able to accomplish our travelling plans.
For additional information on the implementation of the initiative, please contact the UNICEF Information Coordinator in Belarus, Ms. Lyubou Kudzelka, at +375336307178 (calls and messengers) or via e-mail email@example.com