Questo sito utilizza cookie tecnici, analytics e di terze parti.
Proseguendo nella navigazione accetti l'utilizzo dei cookie.

Preferenze cookies

Deportation of Ukrainian children by Russia: joint statement

Today, on International Day for the Protection of Children in Ukraine and across the region, we, the Embassies associated with this statement, call on the Russian Federation to return Ukraine’s children to Ukraine. We are appalled by Russia’s large-scale forced transfer and deportation of children to Russia or Russian-controlled territory within Ukraine and note in this regard the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court.

The Ukrainian government has identified over 19,000 children unlawfully deported or otherwise separated from their parents or guardians. This number continues to grow with recent transfers from the Zaporizhzhia region. Russia has seized children from their schools, and their homes – including those living in institutions, while others have been separated from their families during Russia’s so-called ‘filtration’ process. Very few have been returned. This trauma will affect these children and their families for the rest of their lives.

While the Russian Federation claims these are “evacuations”, we note that the UN Commission of Inquiry concluded that none of the cases examined were justified by safety or medical reasons, nor did they satisfy the requirements set forth by international humanitarian law. The obstacles Russia puts in place to prevent Ukrainian children from reuniting with their families and caregivers undermine Russia’s narrative. Direct relatives or legal guardians must undertake a dangerous and costly journey to collect their children. During this journey, they face a high risk of arrest and interrogation – as do those who help them. In some cases, parents arrive in Russia only to learn authorities have hidden their child in a foster home.

Unlawfully deported children face abusive indoctrination processes designed to systematically undermine and erase their Ukrainian identity, through “re-education” programmes as part of intense militarised schooling practices. Ukrainian children are confronted by Russian disinformation, while their access to alternative voices and education in Ukrainian is denied. Their new environments are linguistically and culturally entirely Russian. This practice violates or abuses a multitude of children’s rights under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including their rights to family, to identity and to education. Children in temporarily Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine are also exposed to this indoctrination, as the Russian Federation imposes its curriculum on local schools, in which children meet Russian soldiers and learn how to use weapons. Parents face threats they will lose custody of their child if they refuse to enrol them.

We remind the Russian Federation of its obligations under international law to end its illegal war of aggression and to ensure the lives of all children are protected. We call on Russia to ensure respect for children’s cultural identity and cease the forcible transfer of children to the Russian Federation, and its efforts to indoctrinate Ukrainian children and force them to become Russian. Finally, in cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities, we call on the Russian Federation to return Ukraine’s children where they belong: Ukraine.

The international community stands with Ukraine in protecting its future generations. We will hold the Russian Federation to account for its illegal and barbaric actions in Ukraine.

British Embassy in Ukraine
Australian Embassy in Ukraine
Austrian Embassy in Ukraine
Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine
Dutch Embassy in Ukraine
Embassy of Canada in Ukraine
Embassy of Denmark in Ukraine
Embassy of Estonia in Ukraine
Embassy of Greece in Ukraine
Embassy of Latvia in Ukraine
Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine
Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ukraine
Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine
Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Ukraine
Finnish Embassy in Ukraine
French Embassy in Ukraine
German Embassy in Ukraine
Italian Embassy in Ukraine
New Zealand Embassy in Ukraine
Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine
Romanian Embassy in Ukraine
Spanish Embassy in Ukraine
Swedish Embassy in Ukraine