ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Dozens of human rights activists in the Russian city of St. Petersburg have held a public gathering in defense of children's rights, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
The action was organized by a local nongovernmental organization, the Civil Committee for Human Rights, on International Children's Day, June 1.
The organization's leader, Roman Chorny, told RFE/RL that the major issue raised today was safeguarding children from what he called "improper and baseless psychiatric diagnoses."
According to Chorny, the underage patients most vulnerable to such misdiagnosis are orphans. "Very often children in orphanages are 'punished' for their misbehavior by injections of psychotropic drugs with side effects," he said.
He added that in many cases, such children end up in psychiatric clinics and become handicapped.
The demonstrators distributed brochures highlighting the plight of children in orphanages and psychiatric clinics, and collected signatures to their petition demanding the protection of children's rights.