20:47 01.06.2023

Embassies of 23 countries in Ukraine demand Russia return Ukrainian children – joint statement

2 min read
Embassies of 23 countries in Ukraine demand Russia return Ukrainian children – joint statement

 On International Day of Children Protection, the embassies of a number of countries signed a statement calling on the Russian Federation to return Ukrainian children to Ukraine.

"We are stunned by the large-scale illegal forced deportation and resettlement of Ukrainian children to Russia or Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine, and therefore draw attention to the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court," according to the statement posted on the Facebook page of the Polish Embassy in Ukraine.

It is noted that Russia abducts children from their schools, their homes, including those who live in boarding schools, and children were separated from their families during the so-called Russian "filtering" process.

"Very few children have returned. The trauma of divorce from loved ones will affect children and their families for life. While Russia claims that this is an 'evacuation,' the UN Investigative Committee concluded that none of the cases considered was justified by considerations safety or health protection, and did not meet the requirements of international humanitarian law," according to the statement.

In addition, the embassies said deported children face brutal educational processes designed to systematically destroy their Ukrainian identity through "re-education" programs as part of intense militarized military training practices. Children in the Ukrainian territories temporarily controlled by Russia are being subjected to this education, as Russia imposes its curriculum on local schools, and parents are threatened with loss of custody if they refuse to take their child to such a school.

"We remind Russsia of its obligations under international law to stop the illegal aggressive war and ensure the protection of the lives of all children. We call on Russia to ensure the right of children to preserve their cultural identity, stop the forced transfer of children to Russia and stop the forced re-education of Ukrainian children and forced to become Russian. We call on Russia to cooperate with the Ukrainian authorities on the return of Ukrainian children to where their home is in Ukraine," the embassies said.

The statement also states that the international community supports Ukraine in protecting future generations and will hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions in Ukraine.

The statement was signed by embassies in Ukraine – Poland, Great Britain, Australia, Austria, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Delegation of the European Union in Ukraine.

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