NGO Advocates for the Return of Countless Ukrainian Children Unjustly Deported to Russia. Only 386 out of 20000 have found their way back home.
BRUSSELS, August 31 2023 – Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council session a non-governmental organization named Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) has submitted a report demanding that Ukrainian children deported by Russia during wartime be repatriated.
Daria Gerasymchuk, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Ukraine states that 20,000 cases have been recorded so far; however, it is believed that unofficial figures could be ten times higher, according to the statement of HRWF first published by The European Times.
The report titled “Ukrainian Children in Search of a Path Back Home from Russia” discloses that 386 children have been able to return home. Negotiations have failed in securing their release necessitating rescue operations each time.
In March arrest warrants were issued by the International Criminal Court against leaders due to illicit child deportations. Furthermore, some children have been unlawfully adopted by families.
Gerasymchuk expressed in an interview with Interfax Ukraine; “At present, there is no international organization equipped with an effective mechanism, for facilitating the return of our deported children.”
In July there was a dispute between Kyiv and the Red Cross regarding a Belarusian Red Cross representative who was allegedly seen with Russian occupiers.
Ukraine is collaborating with the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict to urge Russia to grant access and put an end to child abuse.
Human Rights Without Frontiers has provided some recommendations, including:
- Russia to ensure that no changes are made to the personal status of Ukrainian children, including their citizenship;
- all parties to continue to ensure that the best interests of all children are respected, including by facilitating family tracing and reunification of unaccompanied and/or separated children who find themselves outside borders or control lines without their families or guardians;
- parties to the conflict to grant child protection authorities access to these children to facilitate family reunification;
- the UN Special Representative on “Children and Armed Conflicts’, together with other UN agencies and partners, to consider ways to facilitate such processes.