Russia must end forcible transfer of children from Ukraine, says UN panel

A United Nations (UN) committee said on Thursday (Feb 8) that Russia must end the forcible transfer of children from Ukraine and provide information about those already taken. According to a report by the news agency AFP, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child pressed Moscow on deportation allegations levelled by Ukraine during a regular review of its record in Jan.

In its conclusions, the committee urged Russia to put an end to the forcible transfer or deportation of children from occupied Ukrainian territory. They demanded that Moscow provide information about the precise number of children taken from Ukraine and about the whereabouts of each child.

This measure was needed so that parents “or legal representatives can track them, including through the identification of such children and registration of their parentage, and ensure that children are returned to their families and communities as soon as possible,” the panel further said.

Russia rejects deportation claims

Since Russia launched its offensive against Ukraine in Feb 2022, Kyiv claimed that 20,000 children were forcibly transferred to Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the action “a genocide.”

Moscow has denied the allegation insisting that “placements for evacuated children are arranged, first and foremost, at their request and with their consent.”

In March last year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children. Similar allegations were levelled by the ICC against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights.

Also watch | War crimes of Russia-Ukraine war: Who’s responsible? | Dark World

On Thursday, the UN panel expressed concerns about “the alleged responsibility of… Lvova-Belova, whose mandate is to protect children, in the war crime of unlawful deportation of children and that unlawful transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine” to Russia.

The panel demanded that Russia must investigate the allegations of war crimes against her. 

Moreover, the panel further expressed concerns at reports that Ukrainian children residing even just temporarily in Russia “are deprived of their Ukrainian nationality in violation of their rights under the convention.”

It highlighted the war’s impact on children, and also the “killings and injuries of hundreds of (Ukrainian) children as a result of indiscriminate attacks… with explosive weapons.”

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